Genizah

GENIZAH gə ne’ zə, gə net’ sə (גְּנִיזָה, hiding, storehouse). A place in a synagogue set aside for the storage of unwanted written and printed material of a religious nature. These items are called Shemot (“Names”) because they contain the name of God and cannot be abused. They consist of worn out, heretical and otherwise unfit books, MSS and even scraps of paper. Generally, the accumulated material is periodically removed and buried in a cemetery (also called genizah), sometimes with a pious person. During the 19th cent., many old MSS were discovered and removed from the Ezra Synagogue near Cairo. The Cairo Genizah yielded many thousands of fragments, including some of the original Heb. of Ecclesiasticus.

Bibliography

P. E. Kahle, The Cairo Genizah, 2nd ed. (1959).