CAIRO - 15 January 2020: "The recent restoration and inauguration of Alexandria's Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue comes as an acknowledgement of the Jewish heritage in Egypt," said head of the Jewish Community in Egypt Magda Haroun.
“It acknowledges that there were Jews living in Egypt and were part of the nation and the history,” Haround told Youm7 during the synagogue's inauguration ceremony on January 10,2020.
She added that the community is organizing visits to the Jewish synagogues in Cairo, saying “We want to open them for the public to be places for spiritual nourishment. I want to change these places in Cairo to be cultural nourishment places where we could listen to music, discuss a book or hold literature discussions... Such synagogues should be utilized.”
Replying to a question on the possible restoration of other synagogues, she said, “The country has other priorities.”
Minister of Antiquities Khaled Anany and Haroun opened the synagogue after 3 years of restoration.
With room for approximately 700 worshipers, it is the larger of the two synagogues remaining in Alexandria. The restoration work of Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue cost LE64 million. In 2017, the Egyptian Government announced that it started restoring Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue.
The synagogue is one of the oldest Jewish temples in Egypt; it was established in 1354, but was desecrated when Napoleon Bonaparte's campaign shelled it to create a French military base in the Ottoman territories. However, it was rebuilt in 1850 during the rule of Muhammad Ali. It has been closed by the Egyptian Government after a partial collapse in the upper place for women worshippers.
"Egypt has 11 synagogues registered as antiquities,'' head of the Jewish Antiquities Section at the Supreme Council of Antiquities Mohamed Mahran told Egypt Today in previous remarks.
Additional reporting by Samar Samir and AngyEssam In case you missed it…
CAIRO - 30 December 2017: Walking in through the two-meter-wide entrance, you will find in the semi-demolished ramshackle and stumble across a big cement block and a corridor leading to a rickety staircase leading to the second floor, which is now collapsed and filled with an acrid smell.