Making Sense of the Cairo Geniza’s Arabic Documents

Oct. 15 2015

The Cairo Geniza (a repository in a medieval synagogue where books and documents were discarded) contains, scattered among its multitude of Hebrew texts, no small number of materials in Arabic, which until now have received comparatively little attention from scholars. Marina Rustow, the recent recipient of a MacArthur grant, has focused her research on deciphering these texts, often written in obscure dialects and scrawled on the back of Hebrew documents. Among her finds are rare official edicts from the court of the ruling dynasty and the personal correspondence of a prominent 11th-century Jerusalem rabbi. (Interview by Sara Ivry; Audio, 24 minutes.)

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Read more at Tablet

More about: Cairo Geniza, Egypt, History & Ideas, Jewish history

 

How the U.S. Can Get Smart about Promoting Democracy and Human Rights in the Middle East

Sept. 27 2021

Considering the current state of the region and the policy mistakes of the recent past, David Pollock and Robert Satloff outline a strategy that is “both virtuous and realistic” for defending human rights and encouraging democratization in a region plagued by autocracy, chaos, and brutality. They argue that “in the long run, more democratic, tolerant, and inclusive governments are likely to be better at defending themselves, and more reliable and effective security partners for the United States.”

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Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Arab democracy, Human Rights, Middle East, U.S. Foreign policy