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February 12, 2016 2:14 pm

Jewish Groups Endorse Petition Calling on Egypt to Preserve Institutions, Heritage

avatar by Eliezer Sherman

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Sha'ar Hashamayim Synagogue, Cairo. Photo: Wikipedia

Sha’ar Hashamayim Synagogue, Cairo. Photo: Wikipedia

Some 11 Jewish institutions including the American Jewish Committee have rallied behind a petition calling on the Egyptian government to recognize and work toward preserving Jewish heritage sites in the country, The Algemeiner has learned.

“Over the past 14 years, we have faced inertia on the part of the Egyptian authorities when it came to the preservation of our cultural and religious heritage,” the petitioners wrote, adding that they had been refused by ministers of various countries, ambassadors and UNESCO as well.

The rest of the petition read:

It is up to us to act. The signatories, associations of Jews from Egypt, supported by international Jewish institutions (see below) have decided to act with a united and strong voice, ending our “low profile” approach of the past few years. Our action starts with a petition to President [Abdel Fattah el-Sisi] underlying 5 fundamental issues. It is launched as of 10th February…

This is about our right. This is about our collective Memory.
It concerns your History, your Heritage- yours and your family’s.
It is essential you sign the petition which is visible both in English and French.
It is as essential that you have it signed by your parents, children, family and friends, Jews from  Egypt.
Please: Act now;  Circulate this now. Please share on social medias
If not for yourselves, then for the sake of those who came before us.
Egypt’s Jewish community dwindled from nearly 100,000 to just a few dozen over the last 60 years, with the largest emigrations occurring in 1940s and 1950s after the founding of the State of Israel. The Jewish community left behind thousands of years of Jewish heritage in the country, including synagogues, other properties and artifacts.

While some synagogues, such as the Ben Ezra Synagogue in Old Cairo and Sha’ar Hashamayim Synagogue in Downtown Cairo, are open to the public and mostly restored, many other Jewish institutions have gone into disrepair.

In addition to AJC, the petition was endorsed by the Consistoire Central of France, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, the Union des Juifs d’Egypte in Israel and the Association des Juifs Originaire d’Egypte in Canada.

The petition also came amid a high-profile meeting of American Jewish leaders with the Egyptian president on Thursday.

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  • HaroldT

    What have Jewish organizations done to rescue holy artefacts from the Synagogues no longer in use ?

  • Israel cohen

    Save what is our combined heritages

  • Egypt’s economy is not a robust one. And the country is assailed by countless problems, not the least is the threat to its political and social stability, courtesy the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Bedouin Salafists in the Sinai, and infiltrating ISIL.
    With so few Jews left in Egypt to make use of those historical religious monuments, a prodigious investment would have to be made on an ongoing basis to the upkeep of these venerated historical places.
    There are times when a government must look to its security and to the needs of its impoverished people. That some select old synagogues are being restored is a positive. All things in moderation.

  • The real Jewish heritage is its religion and way of life. The only way of preserving the Jewish religious heritage is practicing the religion. Ancient artifacts and buildings are important, but a living Judaism is much more so.

  • Edna

    Please correct your exposë.

    1)There were just under 90,000 Jews living in Egypt.

    2)There are now just over one dozen aged Jews living there.

    3) It was NOT an emigration but an expulsion.

    We Jews who lived in Egypt were forced to leave our homes, our cars, all our belongings (including our family photographs) and possessions behind, and were allowed one suitcase, one blanket and the equivalent of C$2.00 in £, from which was deducted tax.

    We call this sad episode in our life “The Second Exodus”

  • Davies Samuel

    Include Nebi Daniel Synagogue in Alexandria.