Ancient Jewish manuscripts found in Afghanistan cave

Published on January 7th, 2013 | by Sevaan Franks

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manuscript

A collection of ancient Jewish manuscripts found in caves in a Taliban stronghold in Afghanistan are the first evidence that a Jewish community thrived in the area a thousand years ago.

Genizah, a Hebrew term that loosely translates as “storage,” refers to a storeroom adjacent to a synagogue or Jewish cemetery where Hebrew-language books and papers are kept. Under Jewish law, it is forbidden to throw away writings containing the formal names of God, so they are either buried or stashed away.

The Afghan collection gives an unprecedented look into the lives of Jews in ancient Persia in the 11th century. The paper manuscripts, preserved over the centuries by the dry, shady conditions of the caves, include writings in Hebrew, Aramaic, Judea-Arabic and the unique Judeo-Persian language from that era, which was written in Hebrew letters.

[Full story]

Story: CBC News | Photo: AP, The National Library of Israel, HO

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