A Wandering Jewish Treasure, Looking for a Permanent Home

Jacques Mosseri, a proud Egyptian and Zionist, would have wanted his collection to be in Israel, but his heirs will decide where it ends up

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A letter written by Nehemia ben Kohen Tzedek in Baghdad in 950 C.E., which is part of the Mosseri Collection.
A letter written by Nehemia ben Kohen Tzedek in Baghdad in 950 C.E., which is part of the Mosseri Collection.Credit: Genizah Research Unit
David Green
David B. Green

In 1970, Israel Adler, then the director of Israel’s Jewish National and University Library, visited the Paris home of Rachel Mosseri, a Jewish exile from Nasser’s Egypt. Adler had a big mission, and limited time to carry it out – just 10 days to catalog and photograph the roughly 7,000 documents from the Cairo Genizah that constituted the collection assembled by Mosseri’s late husband, Jacques Mosseri, some six decades earlier.