Cairo’s Jewish community celebrates Rosh Hashana

Wife of a US diplomat lead the service.

The dwindling Jewish community of Cairo celebrated Rosh Hashanah in the city’s Sha’ar Hashamaim synagogue, with a service led by the wife of a US diplomat, reports the Jerusalem Post.

According to Egyptian news website Watani, only five Jews are currently known to be living in Cairo. However, in the pictures of the celebration shared on social media on 30 September, at least 50 people can be counted in the synagogue hall.

Locals were joined by friends, guests and diplomats from different countries, including Thomas Goldberger, US chief of mission and chargé d’affaires in Egypt, whose wife, Eden, led the service. The couple has lived in Egypt since September 2014.

Among the guests were Maltese Ambassador to Cairo Charles Sultana, and Israel-Egypt Friendship Association president Levana Zamir with her children and grandchildren. Zamir’s family fled Egypt in 1948, and she works to raise awareness of the Jewish expulsion from Muslim countries.

Sultana expressed his appreciation on Twitter at meeting members of Cairo’s Jewry, saying he was “Impressed by their hard work to preserve Egypt’s Jewish heritage. Best wishes for Rosh Hashanah and thanks for welcoming me into your Synagogue.”

Also present at the synagogue were members of The Drop of Milk Association, a Jewish charitable NGO that has been registered since 1921. The organization was originally founded to support the community’s needy and disadvantaged. However, as the community has diminished to only five people, the NGO now focuses on preserving the rich Jewish heritage of Egypt and on promoting interfaith understanding.

According to the website of Beit Hatfutsot, The Museum of the Jewish People, a Jewish community continuously functioned in Egypt from the First Temple Period (1000-586 BCE) to the 20th century. On the eve of the foundation of the State of Israel in 1947, about 80,000 Jews lived in the country.

According to Beit Hatfutsot, Sha’ar Hashamaim synagogue is maintained by the Israeli diplomatic staff.

Photo: Shaar Hashamaim synagogue in Cairo, Egypt (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

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Cairo’s Jewish community celebrates Rosh Hashana

Cairo, Egypt

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