Reader, Writer, Reviewer

The Aleppo Codex by Matti Friedman


Published by Algonquin Books, May 2012 *****

Friedman does an excellent job telling the remarkable story of a thousand year old Hebrew manuscript, known as The Crown of Aleppo.  Along with the history of the codex itself, there is great background about the community of Aleppo Jews, an overview of Jewish populations in the Middle East, and Zionism.  The most controversial aspect of the book’s history only occurred in the 20th century, when the manuscript was nearly destroyed in a riot that devastated the Aleppo synagogue, then transferred to Israel for safekeeping, much to the chagrin of the Aleppo community.  At some point, during this upheaval, hundreds of pages went missing, and Friedman put his journalistic skills to work trying to discover what happened.  Unfortunately, Friedman could not prove beyond a doubt the fate of the missing sections because there simply wasn’t enough proof.  Israel, the book’s protector, went to great lengths to cover up an embarrassment, and Friedman could only draw conclusions based on elusive evidence and contradictory testimony.  The Aleppo Jews, who had been driven out of their city and scattered, lost custody of the book they had safeguarded for centuries.  If it had been left in there care, The Crown probably wouldn’t be in its current condition.  This incredible manuscript and the invaluable information it contained will remain incomplete, but its entire story finally comes to light in this fascinating book.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher.

Author: Julie Merilatt

I live in a Chicago suburb with my husband and a house full of books. Book collecting, reading, and reviewing consume my life. I have a special affinity for all things Alice in Wonderland. I began my education at Carthage College, wanting to be an English teacher. Eventually I decided that Carthage and I weren’t a good fit anymore, so I transferred to North Park University, where I realized I didn’t want to be a teacher. So I finished my education with a degree in English with a writing concentration. I was always a voracious reader and wrote my first review in April 2007. I don’t remember why exactly I decided to write a review, only that I had just finished The Agony and the Ecstasy and had a strong feeling that I needed to express how I felt about it. This inspired me to write reviews about each book I wrote and after posting on Amazon for two years, I was invited into the Amazon Vine program. I am also an active reviewer/member of Goodreads and enjoy being an active member of the online book community.

5 thoughts on “The Aleppo Codex by Matti Friedman

  1. Now this sounds like a very interesting piece of work.

  2. This is one you would definitely like, Ron

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