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Prayer and Liturgy

(3,357 words)

Author(s): Stefan Reif
1. Origins The Jews who found themselves part of the vast and newly established Islamic empire of the seventh century had already laid the foundations of their prayer customs and synagogal liturgy. In the course of the previous six centuries they had moved the focus of their religious activity from the Temple they had lost into the domestic, intellectual, and liturgical centers they had developed by way of replacement. In those centers, they had laid down rules for the recitation of the Shemaʿ and the ʿ Amida, with their constituent and attendant benedictions, the Qiddush and Havdala that …

Cairo Geniza

(12,956 words)

Author(s): Stefan Reif | Miriam Frenkel | Meira Polliack | Ben Outhwaite | Esther-Miriam Wagner
1. General Survey and History of Discovery Source " Geniza" is a convenient one-word title to describe an extensive and unique collection of medieval manuscripts, mainly in Hebrew, Judeo-Arabic, and Aramaic, and usually written on vellum and paper, that has illuminated virtually every aspect of life in and around the eastern Mediterranean areas of the Islamic world a thousand years ago. The collection, consisting of well in excess of 200,000 items (written on almost half a million folios) was amassed in …