Daily Israel Report

Video: Jewish Life in Egypt - after 3,000 Years, the End

With Muslim Brotherhood in power, the last functioning synagogue has been shut down.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 9/4/2012, 3:13 PM

The rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has extinguished the last flame of Jewish life in the country. The magnificent Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue in Alexandria, where a synagogue has stood since Hellenistic times, will not hold Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur services, because authorities have banned them. 

This spells the end of Jewish life in Egypt, over 3,000 years since the Egyptian exile ended and Moses led the Jews to the Land of Israel.

The Point of No Return, a blog that documents Jewish communities in the Muslim Middle East, said that the Eliyahu Hanavi synagogue was the last functioning synagogue in Egypt. It quoted Levana Zamir, who heads the International Association of Egyptian Jews in Israel: "It seems this is really the end of Jewish life in Egypt," she said. "The authorities have found a way to take over the last Jewish bastion, since all the remaining synagogues are already archaeological and tourist sites. It is very sad."

The Passover Seder in Alexandria last year was also cancelled for "security" reasons, writes the blog, although a Seder took place in Cairo. High Holiday services used to be held for expatriate Israeli embassy staff at the Maadi synagogue in Cairo, but since the fall of Hosni Mubarak, they have been flying home to spend the holidays with their families.  

There are only two Jewish men and some 20 Jewish widows living in Alexandria.