Ägypten lässt Synagoge renovieren
Alexandria’s historic synagogue has very few visitors. In a city once home to almost 25,000 Jews, Alexandria’s Jewish community is now said to number fewer than eight people, most of whom are elderly.
Originally built in 1354, the Eliyahu Hanavi’s grand facade and cavernous interior welcomed thousands of worshippers until the departure of Egypt’s Jews after the creation of Israel. It then fell into into disrepair and water damage led to the collapse of the ceiling on its upper floor.
Auch Newsweek berichtet über diese Initiativen:
In but a few years one of the world’s oldest Jewish communities will have disappeared. No more than 20 Jews are thought to still live in Egypt, compared to at least 80,000 before the second world war. Half a dozen live in Cairo—four of them in care homes. But Magda Haroun, a sprightly 65-year-old, wants to keep their memories alive. She has formed an association, Drop of Milk, dedicated to preserving Egypt’s Jewish heritage. Of its 20 active members, she is the only Jew.
Some members have Jewish fathers who converted to Islam in order to avoid expulsion under Gamal Abdel Nasser, Egypt’s former dictator who championed Arab nationalism. Others married Jews. Most simply want to preserve Egypt’s pluralist past. “We’re reopening a page of history that was deleted from our textbooks,” says Amir Ramsis, who directed a documentary about Jews in Egypt.
There are 12 surviving synagogues in Cairo. Many are in poor shape. The group is based in one of them, called Sha’ar Hashamayim (Gates of Heaven), and it plans to turn others into cultural centres. Members talk of a “renaissance”. Twice a week they gather to learn Hebrew so that they can catalogue the 20,000 books in the basement of Sha’ar Hashamayim. They want to create an exhibition of Egypt’s Jewish history in the synagogue and to protect other sites, such as the Jewish cemetery in Cairo.