Israel News | Zionism Israel Center | Zionism History | Zionism Definitions | ZioNation | Forum | Zionism FAQ | Maps| Edit

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Remembering the ethnic cleansing of Egyptian Jews

http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2007/11/remembering-ethnic-cleansing-of.html

This article is a reminder of the ethnic cleansing or "Nakba" (disaster) of Egyptian Jews that took place in the 50s and 60s. Most were expelled or forced to flee by rising anti-Semitism, and lost all their property. They became refugees for whom no agency was created and no help was offered by international bodies.
 
Last update - 12:20 01/11/2007    
 
By Yoav Stern, Haaretz Correspondent
 
Two historical moments were recorded Tuesday at the Sha'ar Hashamayim synagogue in Cairo. The first was when Dr. Gaber Baltagi, an academic who writes poetry as a hobby, recited one of his works in Arabic and Hebrew, calling for peace among the nations. The second was when a loud shofar (ram's horn) blast, usually sounded at the closing of the Ne'ila service on Yom Kippur, echoed in the cavernous space of Cairo's great synagogue, bringing tears to the eyes of many of those present.
 
Members of Cairo's Jewish community - those who have remained here, as well as others who have moved away - plus many guests from Egypt and around the world, were there for a ceremony marking 100 years since the founding of the synagogue.
 
In attendance were the American ambassador to Cairo, the British ambassador, Israeli envoy Shalom Cohen as well as former Israeli ambassadors.  Advertisement
 

During the ceremony, the Choir of the Jewish community of Thessaloniki sang songs in Hebrew and Ladino.
 
The building was recently renovated, with the approval and assistance of the Egyptian authorities. It was rededicated Tuesday.
 
"Jews lived here throughout the ages," said community president Carmen Weinstein. "I see no reason for Jews not to continue living here."
 
Weinstein is the second woman president in the history of this Jewish community. The first was her mother, Esther, who served in that capacity for many years.
 
"When my mother was president, she ran things and I did the dirty work. Nowadays I have to do both," she said with a smile, speaking from the synagogue's pulpit. The ceremony she directed Tuesday was a historic event for the community, whose future is still in question. Weinstein declared that she is proud to be Egyptian. As befits her position as head of the community, she thanked Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak several times.
 
The Egyptian Jewish community is one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world. Rabbi Moses Maimonides (the Rambam) lived and taught here in the 13th century. For generations, hundreds of documents were collected in what became known as the Cairo Geniza, whose discovery in 1896 contributed much to Jewish historical research.
 
One hundred years ago, when the Sha'ar Hashamayim was founded on Adly Street, it was a hub of activity. The community absorbed many waves of immigration from both Europe and the Middle East. The name plates still affixed to some of the seat backs tell the immigration story. Philippe Bach, Yosef Salameh, Felix Schwartz and Herman Horenstein are just a few of the names that can be found there.
 
Today the Cairo Jewish community has 30-40 members, most of them older women. One of them, Magda Haron (nee Shahatah), stepped up to the pulpit Tuesday to share her feelings. She said that the last time she remembers the synagogue being full was in the in the 1960s.
 
"We may be only 40 members now," she added, "but we have a glorious history behind us. Please don't let that die."
 
Haron has never visited Israel, for ideological reasons. Her parents were Communists, and she hopes to come only when a Palestinian state is established. Her father did not attend synagogue services, but Haron came with her grandfather.
 
"The future is frightening," she said, in an interview with Haaretz, "and I do not know if anyone can replace Carmen. I think that the Egyptian government should help preserve the Jewish heritage. Jews have been here since the time of the Pharaohs."
 
Among the participants at the event was Meir Cohen, a native of Cairo. He brought with him photographs from his father's wedding at the synagogue in 1947, and from his bar mitzvah in 1963. Like many Israelis born in Egypt, Cohen left along with his family after the deterioration of the Jewish community's situation in the late 1960s. He worked for Israel Television's Arabic department and was the spokesman at the Israeli embassy in Cairo in the late 1980s.
 
"With this event," said Cohen, "Carmen has resuscitated hundreds of years of Jewish life. Every detail here brings back memories of my father, members of my family and the prayer services here. This is the closing of a circle for me/
 


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors. Originally posted at http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2007/11/remembering-ethnic-cleansing-of.html. Please do link to these articles, quote from them and forward them by email to friends with this notice. Other uses require written permission of the author.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment



<< Home


FREE EMAIL SUBSCRIPTION
Subscribe to
ZNN
email newsletter for this site and others

Powered by groups.yahoo.com


Feedblitz subcription
To this Blog only

You can receive our articles by e-mail. For a free subscription, please enter your e-mail address:


Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

Web Logs & Sites

This Site

Zionism & Israel
Zionation Web Log
IMO Web Log (Dutch)

ZI Group
Zionism-Israel Pages
Israël-Palestina.Info (Dutch & English)
Israƫl in de Media
MidEastWeb Middle East News and Views
MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log

Brave Zionism
Israel: Like this, as if
Israel & Palestijnen Nieuws Blog

Friends and Partners
EinNews Israel
Israel Facts
Israel Proud Adam Holland
Middle East Analysis
Irene Lancaster's Diary
Middle East Analysis
Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Israpundit
Israel Facts (NL)
Cynthia's Israel Adventure
Jeff Weintraub Commentaries and controversies
Meretz USA Weblog
Pro-Israel Bay Bloggers
Simply Jews
Fresno Zionism
Anti-Racist Blog
Sharona's Week
Z-Word Blog
Z-Word
Jewish State
Take A Pen - Israel Advocacy
Zionism on the Web
UN-Biased
ZOTW's Zionism and Israel News
Zionism On The Web News
ZOTW's Blogs
Christian Attitudes
Dr Ginosar Recalls
Zionism
Questions: Zionism anti-Zionism Israel & Palestine
Southern Wolf
Peace With Realism
Sanda's Place
Liberal for Israel
Realistic Dove
Blue Truth
Point of no Return
Christians Standing With Israel
Christians Standing With Israel - Blog
Liberticracia
CNPublications
SEO

Reference
Zionism
Anti-Semitism
Anti-Zionism
Encylopedic Dictionary of Zionism and Israel
Middle East Encyclopedia
Bible
Zionism and its Impact
Zionism & the creation of Israel
Zionism - Issues & answers
Maps of Israel
Christian Zionism Resources
Christian Zionism
Albert Einstein
Gaza & the Qassam Victims of Sderot
Islamism
Jihad
Zionist Quotes
Six Day War
Jew Hatred
Israel
Jew
Learn Hebrew
Arab-Israeli Conflict
International Zionism
Russian

Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
Israel Boycott
Boycott Israel?
Amnesty International Report on Gaza War
Boycott Israel?
Dutch Newspaper Reporting: A Study of NRC Handelsblad
Hamas (Dutch)
Dries van Agt (Dutch)
Experimental
Isfake lobby
Mysterology

At Zionism On the Web
Articles on Zionism
Anti-Zionism Information Center
Academic boycott of Israel Resource Center
The anti-Israel Hackers
Antisemitism Information Center
Zionism Israel and Apartheid
Middle East, Peace and War
The Palestine state
ZOTW Expert Search
ZOTW Forum

Judaica & Israel Gifts
Jewish Gifts: Judaica:
Ahava Products
Mezuzah

Powered by Blogger

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]


RSS V 1.0

International Affairs Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory