Three sisters made a memorial tribute to their late mother in the form of a new course offered at the Marcus JCC’s Lisa F. Brill Institute for Jewish Learning.
Dara Grant, Shauna Grosswald and Jessica Sacks and their families made the memorial gift in honor of their mother, Susan Arnovitz Saltz, an MJCCA member who passed away in 2015 at the age of 61.
The curriculum for the new class, “Exploring a Forgotten World: A Social History of Medieval Jewry as Revealed in the Cairo Genizah,” was commissioned by the daughters through the Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning as a gift from the Mimi’s Fund they established.
“Mimi’s Fund is about preserving our mom’s legacy,” Grant said. “One of the ways we do this is by contributing to programs and causes that are meaningful to us and were to our mom, as well as showing our children how and why this is so important.”
Saltz, or Mimi, was a longtime student of the Lisa F. Brill Institute for Jewish Learning, a part of the Melton School. “We made this gift as a lasting tribute because Shauna, Dara and I know how much she loved her Melton classes. It was an important part of her life for [about 15] years,” Sacks said. She added that her mother was a lifelong student who never believed she was done learning.
The Melton School hired Shelley Buxbaum, one of Saltz’s instructors from the Brill Institute, to write the curriculum about the hidden collection of sacred manuscripts and documents stored in a Cairo synagogue. It was a topic in which Saltz had expressed interest, Sacks said.
“This exceptional project has been in the works for years; we are so pleased that ‘Exploring a Forgotten World’ is now published and that we get to share it with the community,” Buxbaum said.
“This newly commissioned curriculum can now be used all over the world for the Melton School,” Grosswald said, “and it will be dedicated with love to our mother’s memory.”
“This course will reveal how a collection of worn-out scraps, fragments of texts and other documents more than 1,000 years old open an otherwise hidden era of history,” the MJCCA reports. “We learn the story of the Genizah – a storeroom for timeworn sacred manuscripts and documents – and examine some of its contents. Through translations of the original texts, the course will explore the daily lives and behaviors of Jewish men, women and families living along the Mediterranean during the Middle Ages.”
The class will be offered four times in Atlanta: 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Wednesdays Jan. 8 to April 29; 10:30 a.m. to noon Thursdays Jan. 16 to March 19; and 8:15 to 9:15 a.m. Tuesdays Jan. 21 to May 19 at the MJCCA at Zaban Park; and in the fall at Congregation Etz Chaim in Marietta.