Jewish Synagogues in Egypt

Jewish Synagogues in Egypt

Jewish Synagogues in Egypt: restored places of prayer that provide a wealth of historical information

Egypt is known for its’ rich history, unique treasures, secrets and discoveries. It’s not just about the pharoahs, but also related to the Islamic, Coptic, Roman, Turkish and Jewish heritage. All of these together are much more than a window into its rich history. Below is a list of the most famous Jewish synagogues in Egypt that you can visit whenever you come to Egypt.

The Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue, Alexandria

Jewish Synagogues in EgyptOne of the biggest Jewish synagogues in the Middle East is the Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue. There are just two left in Alexandria. At any given time, there were twelve. More than 700 worshipers can be accommodated in this large edifice. Additionally, this synagogue is home to significant Alexandria birth and marriage records. The Synagogue was completely destroyed in 1798 and restored in 1850. The Synagogue is now located in Alexandria, Egypt’s second-largest city . It as closed in 2012 due to security reasons and reopened in 2020. Renovations were started in 2017 for this reopening. This was done to preserve Egypt’s Jewish heritage. In 2017 40 million EGP were allocated for the restoration of the Synagogue. Furthermore, everything was restored to preserve minority groups heritage in Egypt.

Ben Ezra Synagogue, Cairo

Ben Ezra Synagogue in Egypt Ben Ezra Synagogue in Cairo is the oldest synagogue dating back to the 19th century AD. It is one of the most important tourist attractions.  Ben Ezra still holds great importance in the contemporary history of Judaism. It is located behind the famous Hanging Church in the area of old Cairo. The Ben Ezra Synagogue features unique decorations, which goes back to the Turkish rulers. Many floral decorations are used as decoratiowns as a background for these patterns, and they are also found around the Star of David in the middle of the ceiling.

Moussa Dar’i Synagogue, Abassieh, Cairo

Moussa Dar'i Synagogue in EgyptThis Synagogue was built in 1933 on land that initially donated by the widow of Sitatah Al Musafi, in 1900. This Synagogue has no chairs or pews. Attedees would take off their shoes prior to services and store them in the lockers near the entrance.

Maimonides Synagogue, Cairo

Maimonides Synagogue in EgyptThis is one of he historic Synagogues in Egypt built in the tenth century. Furthermore, it s believed that Maimonides original tomb is contained within the building. The synagogue also has two spaces for rituals and prayer. It also has a bible that was thought to be written by Maimonides himself.

For many years, Jewish synagogues in Egypt were abandoned. However, the Egyptian government allocated 71 million for the restoration of Jewish sites, including synagogues in Cairo and Alexandria. The Egyptian Ministry of Tourism managed to promote the cultural heritage as an integral part of the Egyptian treasures. There are more than nine Jewish synagogues in Egypt, which will give you a glimpse of the Jewish community in Egypt decades ago.

Egypt’s tourism sector is rebounding after year of stagnation to declare that the Jewish sites would diversify Egypt’s tourist attractions. there are 13 synagogues in Cairo and many others in Alexandria. Some of them have been fully restored and could become powerful draws to tou on special occassrists interested in Egypt’s Jewish history.

An initiative to renovate Egypt’s historic synagogues

In Cairo, since mid april 1140 year old Ben Ezra Synagogue has been under renovation as part of government efforts to resurrect the slumbering Jewish heritage in Egypt that resonates around the world.

Located next to the country’s oldest mosque and some of the country’s oldest Coptic churches. The structure stands as a testament to the freedom of religion Egypt had when there were up to 80,000 Jews living there.

Jews regard this location as holy because they think Moses prayed here before leaving Egypt and was discovered nearby when he was a toddler. Also, the prophet Jeremiah came and worshipped God in this place. The synagogue was largest Jewish religious center at the time, with the Rabbinic court next to it and a garden large enough for the members of the community to gather on special occasions. Today even before much of the renovation initiated by the Egyptian Ministry of tourism begins, it is difficult to enter the synagogue. The current Ben Ezra synagogue in Old Cairo was built in the 1890s, but the original structure goes back to the Middle Ages.

Egypt has begun restoring the oldest synagogue in the Middle East.

The current Ben Ezra synagogue in Old Cairo was built in the 1890s, but the original structure goes back to the Middle Ages.. Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism has begun a project to restore the Ben Ezra synagogue in Old Cairo, whose origins date back to at least 1300 years. It is of great importance because it is the oldest synagogue in Egypt and the Middle East. Ben Ezra is thought to be the oldest continuously preserved synagogue site in the Middle East, despite the fact that the current synagogue was only constructed in the 1890s. It was last restored in 1991.

Today it is a tourist attraction within an area that includes ancient places of worship of three monotheistic traditions.

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