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

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
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.