For 18 years businessman Sam Sabbagh resisted pressures from Israeli scholars to let them have the small piece of parchment that had been his good luck charm for six decades.
Sabbagh was convinced that thanks to the parchment, which he kept with him always in a transparent plastic container, he had been saved from riots in his hometown of Aleppo during Israel’s War of Independence, and he had managed to immigrate from Syria to the United States in 1968 and start a new life in Brooklyn and make a living. The charm was with him when he underwent complicated surgery.
Just two years ago, it completed its task, when Sabbagh passed away.
On Thursday, his family will present the parchment, an 8-centimeter-square piece of the 1087-year-old Aleppo Codex, to a representative of the Ben Zvi Institute in Jerusalem. Inscribed on both sides, it is one of the lost fragments of the codex, a copy of the Bible written in 920 C.E. in Tiberias by the scribe Shlomo Ben Buya’a. The fragment Sabbagh had bears verses of Exodus chapter 8, including the words of Moses to Pharaoh: "Let my people go, that they may serve me…" [continue]
Another Haaretz article has more details, and a photo: Fragment of ancient parchment from Bible given to Jerusalem scholars.