a savoir

Synagogue Caire 2006 (18Mo)

Syna Alexandrie 2006 (12Mo)

Conseil Communauté 1975, M. Bilboul, M. Mattatia et le rabbin Hadida


« How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, thy dwelling places O Israel »

(Prayer on entering the Synagogue)

The fate of many synagogues in Suez, Ismailya, Port Said, Mansourah, Tantah, Kafr-el-Zayat, Damanhour, each housing 5 to 10 Sifrei Torah and religious artefacts, is unknown. A few among the numerous synagogues have survived in Cairo and Alexandria only (in bold here under):

1/ Alexandria :

Numbered the following (building date & location) :

Eliahou Hanabi 1850 -- @ 69 Nebi Daniel Street, built on the location of a very old synagogue (cf. Voltera). Guarded round the clock. The gardens have been attractively landscaped on 3 sides. The synagogue is well maintained, although some renovation will soon be required to the ceiling and the ladies’ gallery (which could be used as museum). It is the only synagogue where services can be held.
Menasce 1882 -- @ Mancheya, Temple Menasce Street (Orabi / Consuls Square). Closed, cannot be visited. Could become an Annex to the Biblioteca Alexandrina dedicated to Jewish studies.
Zaradel 1381 & 1880 -- @ Old Fish Market, Amram Street. The oldest in Alexandria. The consecration stone, now disappeared, used to read “I Yehouda, son of Rav Saul Sephar, son of Isaac of revered memory, have brought…, built… for the forgiveness of my soul and my parents’ soul in the year 1311 of the destruction of the Temple…”
Azouz ?, rebuilt 1853 -- @ Souk el Hosr
Green 1901 -- @ Moharem Bey
Sasson 1910 -- @ Glymenopoulo
Castro 1920 -- @ Moharem Bey
Nezah Israel 1920 -- Ashkénaze
Shaaré Tefila 1922 -- @ Camp de Cesar – also known as Anzarut/Charbit
Eliahou Hazan 1937 -- @ Sporting
Israélite ? -- @ Daftarkhana Street
Midrash (?) -- @ 51 Midan Street
Oratories Goar – Safnat Paaneah – Moroccan – Guemilout Hassadim – Ben Porat Yossef – Teboul (Ibrahimieh) – Halab (Syrian) - Salama

It is difficult to understand the authorities’ position that these synagogues, mainly contemporary, could have housed Sifrei Torah over 100 years old.


Emplacement de l’ancienne synagogue Zaradel (N°23), Merci à Emile Gabbay !

The Cairo and Alexandria communities have managed their estate differently. The Cairo community, whose members were more diverse for historical reasons, has attempted to maintain a large number of synagogues, many of which unfortunately require substantial renovation. The Alexandria community has reduced maintenance costs by concentrating on the most important one. Hence the difference in both resources and in the need of funds. Small groups endeavour to send a Minyan so that religious services can still be held during Festivals. Thanks to this Mitzvah, the harmonium at Nebi Daniel was heard once again in October 2005 during Simhat Torah.

…There are stones that are like souls (Nahman of Bratslav)

2/ Cairo :

Numbered 5 synagogues in the 15th century and around 15 in the 18th. Most were subsequently rebuilt. The following were active during the 20th century:

Shar Hashamayim
1905 -- @ 17 Rue Adly (Temple + Oratoire)
Ben Ezra (19th century) -- @ Fostat in « old Cairo », where the “Cairo Guenizah” was discovered. Restored and open to all as a tourist site.
Rab Moshé
(Ibn Maïmoun)
+/-1205 -- @ Hart El Yahoud. The Rambam taught and was temporarily buried there. Restored in 1967 but since flooded by rising waters. In derelict condition since the roof collapsed and in need of serious restoration.
Meir'enaim (Biton) 1934 -- @ 55 Avenue 13, Ma’adi, in good condition, used by the expatriate community during Festivals.
Haïm Capoussi XVII° Century -- @ Hart El Yahoud. Ottoman style, restored at the beginning of the 20th century.
Moussa Dar'i 1932 -- @ 25 Sebyl El Khazindar Street, Midan el Gueish, Abbassieh
Ashkénazim --@ El Gueish Street, Ataba Place, restored in1945
Ets Hayim (Hanan) 1900 -- @ 3 Qantaret Street, Ghamrah
Pahad Itzhak (Kreim) 1925 -- @ 9 Ibn Khaldoun Street, Sakkakini
Vitali Madjar 3 El Missalah Street, Heliopolis
Eshkinazi El Kaoua Street (Mansi, Daher)
Rab Ishmael (Espagnols) Hart El Yahoud, 13 El Sakalibah Street
Shimon Bar Yochaï 1905 --@ Hart El Yahoud, 16 El Sakalibah Street
Yacob Abou Shaara Hart El Yahoud attached to Rab Ishmael
Ba'al Hanness Hart El Yahoud, 20 Rue El Sakaliba
Rab Zimra Hart El Yahoud, 6 Hoch El Souf
Torkia Hart El Yahoud, 13 Darb El Kouttab
Talmud Torah Hart El Yahoud- initially converted into a Social Centre
Portuguezim Hart El Yahoud 5 Atfet El Fadda
Rab Semham Hart El Yahoud – Caraïte
Karaïte French Hospital Square (Abbassieh)
Maguen Abraham Wali el Ahad Street(Koubbeh Gardens)
Synagogues Hélouan, Green, Kéter Torah, Midrash Eliahou

The synagogues, mainly destroyed, have now either been replaced by social housing or, at best, are used as mosques or warehouses throughout the country.

Those which have not been sold by the Communities, generally in ruins, are under the authority of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities. About fifteen Jewish monuments are thus considered part of Egypt’s archaeological heritage. This may guarantee their survival, but what funds and resources will be allocated to them in competition with the pharaonic treasures? We should nevertheless be grateful to the Egyptian authorities who have protected synagogues and cemeteries against excited mobs in spite of a tense political background.