Friday, March 05, 2010

Maimonides Synagogue in Cairo restored

THE MAIMONIDES SYNAGOGUE in Cairo has been restored:
Egypt completes restoration of Maimonides shul
By RON FRIEDMAN (Jerusalem Post)
05/03/2010 06:00

Dignitaries from Israel and abroad fly in for Sunday’s rededication.

After a year-and-a-half of careful restoration work by the Egyptian authorities, the Maimonides Synagogue in Cairo is set to be rededicated on Sunday.

The 19th-century synagogue and adjacent yeshiva, which stand on the site where Rabbi Moses ben Maimon, the Rambam, worked and worshiped more than 800 years ago, was restored by the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA).

That's good, but this news in the article, which I had not heard before, is disturbing:
In late February, a homemade bomb was thrown at the Ben-Ezra Synagogue, sometimes referred to as the El-Geniza Synagogue, in the heart of Cairo.

The land for this synagogue was purchased in 882 CE for 20,000 dinars by Abraham ibn Ezra of Jerusalem.

This was the synagogue whose geniza or store room was found in the 19th century to contain a treasure of abandoned Hebrew secular and sacred manuscripts. The collection, known as the Cairo Geniza, was brought to Cambridge, England, at the instigation of Solomon Schechter.

According to the police report, a man entered a hotel located on the fourth floor of a building across from the synagogue at around 3 a.m. and, as he was checking in, threw his suitcase out the window.

The case contained four containers of gasoline, each attached to a glass bottle of sulfuric acid meant to shatter on impact and ignite the makeshift bomb, said police, who speculated the man may have panicked.

The bag, which also contained clothes, cotton strips, matches and a lighter, fell onto the sidewalk in front of the hotel and briefly caught fire before being extinguished.

There were no injuries and no damage to the historic synagogue.
For more on the Egyptian synagogue restoration project, go here and follow the links.