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Ben Ezra Synagogue In Cairo Reopens After Significant Restoration

The current building dates to the late 19th century, though the synagogue’s origins trace all the way back to Maimonides and the Middle Ages.

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Ben Ezra Synagogue in Cairo, 2017. (Photo: Ovedc via Wikimedia Commons)

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A ceremony in Cairo on Aug. 31 marked the completion of the years-long restoration of the Ben Ezra Synagogue, whose current building dates to the late 19th century though traces its origins to the Middle Ages, including being associated with the Jewish scholar and philosopher Maimonides.

The site is also where the Cairo genizah was discovered. That trove of medieval Jewish manuscripts is now housed at Cambridge University in England.

Mostafa Madbouly, Egypt’s prime minister, attended the ceremony, as did Cairo’s governor, as well as Egyptian ministers of tourism and antiquities, and of local development.

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The synagogue is “one of the most important and oldest synagogues in Egypt,” according to an Arabic announcement from the Tourism and Antiquities Ministry. The ministry added that the synagogue is associated with biblical commentator Abraham ibn Ezra (1089-1167).

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In late 2018 and early 2019, the Egyptian government announced tens of millions of dollars in funding to repair religious sites, including Jewish ones. The recent project involved architectural restoration, including reinforcing roofs, updating lighting systems and insulation, and cleaning marble columns.

Part of a medieval ark door from the synagogue is jointly owned by the Yeshiva University Museum in Manhattan and the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore.

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

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