Egypt Promises to Restore Maimonides Synagogue

Hat tip to Egyptology News:
Friday, November 02, 2007
Preservation of Jewish heritage in Egypt

American Jewish Committee

In Egypt for events marking the centennial of Cairo’s main synagogue, Shaar Hashamayim, an American Jewish Committee delegation met this week with Egyptian officials to discuss efforts to preserve the Jewish heritage in Egypt.

The delegation, led by Rabbi Andrew Baker, AJC’s director of International Jewish Affairs, met with Minister of Culture Farouk Hosny and Zahi Hawass, head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities. The Egyptian officials assured the AJC group that the Maimonides Yeshiva and Synagogue would be properly restored during the coming year.

The Yeshiva was the original study house of the 12th Century rabbinic scholar and is adjacent to a 19th century synagogue named for him. The Yeshiva has been a place of pilgrimage for Jews around the world, although the structures have long-since fallen into a state of disrepair. Dr. Hawass said that a full technical analysis had already taken place and preparatory work could begin almost immediately.

The centennial events were a reminder of the large and vibrant Jewish community that could be found in Cairo and Alexandria during the first half of the last century, when Egypt was a far more culturally diverse society.

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