Egypt's newly restored synagogue

By Jessica Elgot, March 15, 2010


In Cairo’s ancient Jewish quarter, the ruined Ben Maimon synagogue has undergone a seven month restoration.

The synagogue held a dedication ceremony last week, amid a heavy security presence which cleared a 500 metre area around the shul.

The dedication ceremony included several Egyptian Jewish families, Carmen Weinstein, head of Egypt's Jewish community, Yitzhak Levanon, the newly-appointed Israeli ambassador to Egypt and the US, Canadian and French envoys.

At the rededication ceremony, Rabbi Andrew Baker of the American Jewish Committee said: “Let us recognise that there is something of a miracle in what takes place here today—albeit an earthly one. As the Egyptian Government has embraced this project as its own, I hope it is a sign that it will embrace the history of Jews in Egypt—from the 12th Century but also the 20th Century—as its own too.”

Last updated: 2:39pm, March 15 2010

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bataween

Thu, 03/18/2010 - 22:14

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It is notable that both the culture minister Farouk Hosny and the Antiquities Authority chief Zahi Hawass boycotted the ceremony, and found an excuse not to attend a second one. This opening will not help break down antisemitism in Egypt, nor will it foster 'normalisation' with Israel. One could be cynical and say it helps boost Egypt's image in the US, and will earn plenty of tourist dollars in the future.

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