Source: The Guardian
By Ruth Michaelson in Alexandria
Alexandria’s historic synagogue has very few visitors. In a city once home to almost 25,000 Jews, Alexandria’s Jewish community is now said to number fewer than eight people, most of whom are elderly.
Originally built in 1354, the Eliyahu Hanavi’s grand facade and cavernous interior welcomed thousands of worshippers until the departure of Egypt’s Jews after the creation of Israel. It then fell into into disrepair and water damage led to the collapse of the ceiling on its upper floor.
In a rare mark of respect for the country’s religious minorities, and an even rarer choice to preserve a piece of the country’s Jewish history, the Egyptian government has pledged to repair the building as part of a 1.27bn Egyptian pound (roughly £55m) package to restore eight monuments.
But the decision has struck many as odd, given the size of the country’s Jewish population, believed to be fewer than 50 people, and the government’s unwillingness to engage with Egyptian Jewry.