Sacred Trash

From Jan ’12 Spotlight:

“The Ben Ezra Geniza was the size of a glorified walk-in closet. Yet here was an entire civilization… a kind of holy junk heap… composed of hundreds of thousands of scraps of paper.” So say Peter Cole and Adina Hoffman in their acclaimed new book Sacred Trash: The Lost and Found World of the Cairo Geniza.“Because of the Geniza, we can nearly hear and see-and often almost smell and touch-the urbane world of the Arabized Jews who populated Cairo-home, in its medieval heyday, to the most prosperous Jewish community on earth… It was a mirror of the world.”

Cole, a MacArthur Fellow, is the author of three books of poems, and an accomplished translator of poetry from Hebrew and Arabic into English. Hoffman is the author of a book about Musrara (a neighborhood which sits on the border between East and West Jerusalem). Together, as the founders of Ibis Editions, they are dedicated to publishing poetry and belletristic prose from across the Levant.

Cole and Hoffman will be at the University of Chicago to conduct a series of workshops beginning Jan 19. A public lecture on Monday, Jan 23, co-sponsored by Chicago Center for Jewish Studies and The Newberger Hillel Center, will be held in the Special Collections Research Center of Regenstein Library (1100 E. 57th St) from 5:30 to 7:30 PM.

For additional details, call (773) 702-7108 or visit:

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