Richard T. Nowitz

Vegetarian’s delight. From left to right, lentils, sesame seeds, figs and garlic fill ceramic bowls on display next to the small storage area at the end of the traqlin, or main living area. These are four of the 36 local foods mentioned in a poem (c. sixth to eighth centuries C.E.) found in the Cairo Genizah, a famous synagogue repository for worn-out copies of sacred writings. Between the bowls, a brilliant point of light blazes from an oil lamp of the sort that would have lit the house in ancient times. In the background, jars used for storing grain, wine and oil lean against a wall in the storage area at the end of the traqlin.