September 21, 2010 Jewish Women's Lives Under Medieval Islam Is Subject of Oct. 25 Lecture

Press Contact: Audrey Fischer (202) 707-0022
Public Contact: Peggy Pearlstein (202) 707-3779 | Ann Brener (202) 707-4186

A treasure trove of primary sources containing some 280,000 Jewish manuscript fragments was discovered in the geniza (storage room) of a synagogue in Cairo, Egypt, during the late-19th century. Known as the Cairo geniza, the material—dating from about A.D. 870—is now housed in libraries throughout Europe and the United States.

Sara Reguer, head of the Department of Judaic Studies at Brooklyn College, City University of New York, has used the documents to explore various aspects of women’s lives under medieval Islam, with a special focus on their professions, their charitable activities and their education. She will deliver a lecture titled “The Cairo Geniza—the World of Jewish Women” at the Library of Congress at noon on Monday, Oct. 25 in the African and Middle Eastern Division Reading Room, Room 220 of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street S.E., Washington, D.C.

Sponsored by the Hebraic Section of the African and Middle Eastern Division, the event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited.

Reguer holds a bachelor’s degree in religious education from Yeshiva University Teachers Institute for Women and a doctorate in history from Columbia University, where she specialized in Middle East history and Jewish history. In addition to Brooklyn College, she has taught at Hofstra University, Yeshiva University and the University of Naples, Italy. She is the editor of “The Jews of the Middle East and North Africa in Modern Times” (2003).

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at and via interactive exhibitions on a personalized website at

The African and Middle Eastern Division furthers the Library’s mission by serving as the center for the study of some 78 countries and regions from Southern Africa to the Maghreb and from the Middle East to Central Asia. The division’s Hebraic Section is one of the world’s foremost centers for the study of Hebrew and Yiddish materials. For more information on the division and its holdings, visit


PR 10-210
ISSN 0731-3527