Who stole the sacred treasure of Aleppo?An interactive detective documentary.
The story of the Crown
The Crown (aka the Aleppo Codex) is the most important and ancient manuscript of the Jewish Bible, written in the 9th century, and kept by the Jewish community of Aleppo for the last 6 centuries.
Our journey starts in 1947. The founding of the state of Israel has just been announced, posing a direct threat to the Jewish community of Aleppo that has always lived quite peacefully among its Muslim neighbours. The synagogue, a safe haven for the world’s oldest Bible book, is set on fire in the ensuing riots. For the first time in centuries, the sacred book is secretly traveling to a new home. Along the way it passes through many hands, before it ends up, against the will of the Aleppo Rabbis, in the institute of historian and second president of Israel Yitzhak Ben-Zvi. By the time the book resurfaces in Israel, a third of its pages is missing.
Become an investigator
We need your help to solve this mystery!
For the first time in the history of the case, all evidence will be online and open for anyone to browse and contribute to. There are testimonies of witnesses, hundreds of scanned documents and many unanswered questions of the researchers who have been working on the story for years.
You can watch the documentary film or choose your own way through the timeline loaded with extra videos and documents. All evidence is structured in the Document Archive, offering you the opportunity to start your own investigation and share it with others.
In this website you may join the investigation and make up your own mind as to who stole the pages, and where they are now. This time the Crown’s journey is connected to the evidence itself, in the form of testimonies and hundreds of scanned documents, and to all the unanswered questions of the researchers. For the first time, the case is online.
Here you can watch the linear film, or choose your own way through the different items in the Timeline. you can enter the investigation section, learn and research the materials, and add your own.
The Aleppo Codex was added to UNESCO’s world treasure registry in 2017. It is the blueprint for all Jewish Bible studies, written in Tiberius in the 9th century. The world renowned Rabbi and philosopher Maimonides himself has declared it the most accurate manuscript of Judaism.
Later on, a descendant of Maimonides searched for a safe and stable place for the Crown. He chose the ancient community of Aleppo - a strong, strict and rigid community that would safeguard the sacred treasure. The Crown was put in an iron box inside a niche called the "Cave of Elijah" in the Great Synagogue of Aleppo.
For more than 600 years the Crown was kept securely, and became the pride of the community and a source of power. It was strongly believed that a curse would fall on the man who dared to take it, and the community would be destroyed if the Crown were ever taken away.
This project is produced by Micha films, for the Israeli public broadcasting corporation “Kan”, with the support of “Cinema project” - Rabinovich Foundation, the Israel Lottery Council For Culture & Arts, Bait La-ivrit, and JDC.