Restoration of Famous Egyptian Synagogue Under Way

The head of antiquities on Thursday unveiled restoration work under way at one Egypt's most famous synagogues - the synagogue named after Rabbi Moses Ben Maimon, a famous physician, philosopher and Torah scholar who was born in Cordoba, Spain, in 1135 A.D. He eventually moved to Cairo, where he died in 1204 and was buried inside the synagogue. The remains of the rabbi, who is known in the West as Moses Maimonides, were later transferred to the Holy Land.

The synagogue was built in an area called Haret al-Yahoud, or "The Jewish Quarter," a reflection of how medieval Cairo was divided up into religious and ethnic neighborhoods. It was declared an antiquity in 1986 due to its historic architecture and religious importance.
The area around the synagogue is now known as el-Gamalia. It used to be a slum filled with garbage-covered dirt streets until the government recently cleaned up the area to attract tourists.

Hawass said the synagogue sustained serious damage over time from earthquakes and ground water. The restoration is part of a national project to refurbish ten Jewish synagogues across Egypt.

The synagogue is divided into three parts: an area dedicated to prayers and rituals, another for Ben Maimon's tomb and a third that included a women's prayer section.

Click here to read the entire article and here to learn more about the Jews of Egypt.

1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    I recently read your post about Dr Zahi Hawass and the renovation of Jewish sites in Egypt. I think the following video will fit well with that entry, and I hope you will consider embedding this video on your website:

    It was shot earlier this year as restoration of the Jewish Synagogue of Moses Ben Maimon began, and features Dr Hawass talking about the progress being made at the site, due to be reopened on 30th March 2010.

    Heritage Key covers news from the ancient world, and has articles from the experts in the field, and even has a virtual world where you can explore the Valley of the Kings and King Tutankhamun's tomb!


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