a savoir


2004 Letters

2003 Letters

2002 Letters


M.David Ribacoff (American Sephardi Federation) M. Itzik Sanua (WCJE) & Roger in New York, November 2005.


Dr. Max Salama & Yves Alexandria, February 2005


Jo Barda, Alec Nacamuli, & Yves Fedida at the International Research conference on the « Jews of Egypt in Modern Times », held at Bar-Ilan University, January 2004.


Roger, Alec & Yves at Ben Ezra, in Fostat January 2004


" One need not hope in order to undertake;, nor succeed in order to persevere "

(William of Orange)


We must regrettably recognise, with humble frustration, that our efforts have met with little success to date. In spite of their friendly and sympathetic welcome, the authorities have not responded to our requests and repeated follow-ups, with the exception of the inventory of the Sifrei Torah in Alexandria by the Supreme Council of Antiquities. The Community leaders, on the other hand, are understandably reluctant to undertake any action without permission from the authorities. Nor have we been able to obtain a reliable legal opinion on the future of the Communities’ heritage and assets after the last members will have disappeared. We welcome any suggestion and assistance conducive to fulfilling our objectives.


1st half:

Yves Fedida travels to Egypt and meets with the Community leaders in Cairo and Alexandria. Dossier transmitted to French consulate in Alexandria.

Robert Farhi and Yves Fedida submit a dossier to the Adviser on Religious Affairs of the French Foreign Ministry.

An article in Egypt Today on the Jews from Egypt shows a more open attitude to this chapter of Egyptian history: .

In spite of the fluctuating political situation, the Egyptian government has always deployed significant resources to protect the principal Jewish sites.

First General meeting of the Association in Paris.

2nd half:

Roger Bilboul submits a dossier to the American Jewish Committee (AJC) and gains their support. He also submits a dossier to the World Monument Fund to seek the renovation of certain synagogues within the “Jewish Heritage Programme”.

Throughout the past 3 years, Roger Bilboul, Robert Farhi, Yves Fedida, Alec Nacamuli, Alain Farhi and Andre Cohen have endeavoured to update the various Associations of Jews of Egypt in Europe, Israel and the US on our activities.


1st half::

Roger Bilboul, Yves Fedida and Alec Nacamuli travel to Egypt, where they:

At their request, full dossiers summarising the status of the religious and cultural heritage of the Jews from Egypt and our proposals for its preservation are submitted at the highest level to the relevant Egyptian authorities. (See attached pdf AuthoritiesRAE)

2nd half:

Yves Fedida gains the support of the American Joint Distribution Committee (AJDC). A detailed report focusing exclusively on the registers is sent to all relevant contacts in Egypt. The cover letter to that report states:


Dear Sir,

You were kind enough to receive three of our council members…

You were acquainted, in the course of that meeting as in our confirming letter of January 16th and through the complete dossier we sent ….on February 5th, with the essential objectives of our Association regarding the preservation of the heritage of the Jews of Alexandria.

We took heed of your remarks on the necessity of a low profile, and the inevitability of patience in this matter. We noted that our request encompassed the coordination and assent of various Egyptian administrative entities, which has evidently proven to be a very lengthy task.

With due respect, it is our belief that by concentrating on what seems to us the least controversial yet most urgent and essential element of our petition, we could establish the basis of a modus operandi. This consists in the copying of the civil and religious status Registers of the practically extinct community. In the enclosed dossier you will find extensive examples of these registers underlining their relevance and importance beyond our parents’ or our own generation.

We are convinced that evidence of their innocuous nature will convince you to allow, unequivocally for all parties, the transfer of these registers for copy by the Alexandria Library, or by another body if deemed appropriate. This copy would then be entrusted to the Chief Rabbi of France to ensure continuity.

Hoping this suggestion will meet your approval; we remain

Yours sincerely;
On behalf of the Council
Yves Fedida

The same report is also circulated amongst our contacts outside Egypt.

Yves Fedida meets with former Chief Rabbi of France René Samuel Sirat (President of the Institut Universitaire Maïmonide and of the Institut Rashi) who advises us to concentrate efforts on exporting the registers which could then be certified by the French Consistoire and, should exporting the Siffrei Torah prove impossible, to ensure their conservation on site. (See 2004 Letters Link).

No response is received to several follow-up letters to the Egyptian authorities. A request for written confirmation that copying the registers is considered a strictly internal community issue also receives no response (This establishes the inexact basis of the statement).

The Supreme Council of Antiquities finally responds, confirming the inventory carried out by them in Alexandria. It does not however respond to our suggestions concerning their conservation or exhibition.Roger Bilboul travels to Cairo and meets with the Community leaders.


1st half:

Foundation and registration of the “Association Internationale Nebi Daniel”, named after the street where the Eliahou Hanabi “grande synagogue” is located. Its objectives are “The preservation and continuous management, in accordance with Jewish traditions, of the religious and cultural heritage, the financial and real-estate assets and the civil and religious registers of the Jewish Community of Alexandria and, by extension, the Jewish Community of Egypt”.

The association rapidly gathers the support of many individuals and personalities. Its representativeness is confirmed by the membership of all associations of Jews from Egypt in Europe and Israel, and one in the USA.

A presentation is sent to the Egyptian ambassador in Paris, without any response.

At our request, the Chief Rabbi of France, who is also President of the Council of European Rabbis, addresses a letter to the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt (copied to President Chirac and the Egyptian ambassador) confirming his offer to host the registers at the French Consistoire and suggesting that the Sifrei Torah be loaned abroad. No response received. (see 2003 Letters Link).

2nd half:

A dossier is transmitted to the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. No result to date.


1st half:

Roger Bilboul ships the necessary equipment but his request to copy the Registers is turned down by the Alexandria Community for lack of explicit authorisation by the Egyptian authorities. The Security Services refuse to allow a copy of the registers to leave the Synagogue premises.

2nd half:

Coinciding with the inauguration of the Biblioteca Alexandrina in the presence of President Jacques Chirac, Yves Fedida launches an initiative to draw the President’s attention to the concerns of the Jews from Egypt (many of which are French citizens) regarding the preservation of the community’s heritage. (see 2002 Letters Link).

This petition, supported by the Chief Rabbi of France, the President of the Consistoire de Paris and the President of the CRIF, is acknowledged with sympathy, but without any concrete result.

The preservation and continuous management, in accordance with Jewish traditions, of the religious and cultural heritage, the financial and real-estate assets and the civil and religious registers of the Jewish Community of Alexandria and, by extension, the Jewish Community of Egypt.