The Princeton Geniza Project

Angry letters from a wife to her absent husband. Rhyming complaints about Red Sea business travel. Memo about an opium deal. Accounts of a silk merchant. Graphic descriptions of gastrointestinal problems. Problems with bedbugs. Confessions of a single dad unable to travel for business.

The Cairo Geniza, a cache of texts preserved in a medieval Egyptian synagogue, is a snapshot of everyday life over the past thousand years, a portrait of the Jewish communities of the Mediterranean and Red Sea regions in an era when the vast majority of the world’s Jews lived in the Islamic Middle East.

Thousands of letters, legal deeds, accounts and doodles are fueling a new history of the global Middle Ages.

Try your luck with a random fragment. Explore the database by keyword in English. Search the transcriptions for specific terms in Judaeo-Arabic, Hebrew, Arabic and other languages. Or use the advanced search function. We encourage you to look for connections between people, places and objects as you engage with the corpus.

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