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Sunday, March 07, 2010

Maimonides synagogue in Cairo being re-dedicated

When I was in Cairo in 1980, I went with my grandmother, may she rest in peace, to the Maimonides Synagogue, and we could not even enter the building. It was piled with garbage outside, the windows were broken and we were told that it was dangerous to enter the building. A restored Maimonides Synagogue in Cairo will be re-dedicated on Sunday.
After a year-and-a-half of careful restoration work by the Egyptian authorities, the Maimonides Synagogue in Cairo is set to be rededicated on Sunday.

The 19th-century synagogue and adjacent yeshiva, which stand on the site where Rabbi Moses ben Maimon, the Rambam, worked and worshiped more than 800 years ago, was restored by the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA).

According to the Egyptian press, the restoration of the synagogue is part of a plan by the SCA to restore all the major religious sites in Egypt, including 10 synagogues.

The rededication ceremony will be attended by members of the Cairo Jewish community, the Egyptian diplomatic corps, former Israeli ambassadors and representatives of the state. A group of Chabad Hassidim will also attend the ceremony and help in rededicating the synagogue.
I hope that the synagogue will function as a synagogue. After we couldn't get into the Maimonides synagogue, the tour guides took my grandmother and me to the 'new' synagogue in downtown Cairo. But we were told by the guards standing outside that synagogue with machine guns equipped with machetes that the synagogue only operated on Jewish holidays.

Are there any Jews left in Cairo?


At 11:43 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

you have to admit, egypt is using a clever strategy. first rid your country of all the jews, and THEN restore their synagogues and holy sites. that way you don't have to actually put up with all those sons of pigs and dogs defiling your country, but you can still make yourself look like a tolerant nation proud of cultural diversity to the international community. its a win-win situation for them.

At 4:00 PM, Blogger Megahed said...

Thank you Carl for the informative post. I was actually surfing the web to know more about the synagogue. I would love to know stories that your grandmother, may she rest in peace might told you about Maimonides and his synagogue :)

@Yael: I can't agree with your point of view, because it is the Jews who left Egypt! and The restoration program includes mosques, churches and synagogues.

You can see that Mamluk & Fatimid mosques are recently renovated and opened as museums. Other religious sites are still not renovated (even Islamic ones)

Yes Israelis are not welcomed in Egypt on many levels due to:
1- The Israeli authorities disrespect to the Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem.
2- The massacres done to Palestinians in Gaza and other occupied territories.

BUT Jews (& Egyptian Jews) were always friends and good neighbors to Muslim and Christian Egyptians.


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