About a month ago I did a tour of four synagogues in Cairo with a group. I’m rather behind blogging about it (and other things) as I’ve been so busy exploring I haven’t been blogging! Not to mention DD has fully dropped her nap, which means that while DS naps, DD wants me to play with her or do school practice (girl after my own heart–she loves school practice!).
Synagogues in Egypt are highly protected as they are at great risk of attack. All four that we went to had police barricades and security around them. While Judaism has a long history in Egypt, Jews are not thought highly of through much of Egypt today. Not all the synagogues we went to on our visit are operational at this time, and definitely show their age and decay. I am sure they were gorgeous in their prime.
Interesting fun fact. Maadi, the area of Cairo I live in, came to be in large part because of a Jewish man who was contracted to build a train track from Cairo to Helwan. Helwan to the south was considered a bit of a retreat area and was new. The contract for building the train track contained a clause that said a stop would be built near what is now Maadi because the Jewish community had a burial site there and he wanted it easier for them to access it. The stop was built when he won the contract and Maadi ended up growing up around the train stop.
The four synagogues we went to were:
1- Meyr Biton Anaiem or Maadi Synagogue
Address: Road 13 & Oraby Street, Maadi, Cairo
2- Vitally Maquar or Heliopolis Synagogue
Address: 28 Missalah Street, Heliopolis, Cairo
3- Karaite or Mosa Aldarie Synagogue
Address: 5 Alfaransawy Street, Sabeel Alkhazindar, Abassiah, Cairo
4- Sha’ar Hashamayim Synagogue (lit. Gate of Heaven), also known as Temple Ismailia and the Adly Street Synagogue.
Address: 17 Adly Street, from Talaat Harb Street or Opera Square, Down-Town Cairo
If interested in visiting them, I suggest joining a tour group. I see them advertised periodically through CSA and other groups.