Egypt allocates millions to restore historic Alexandria synagogue

Egypt devotes $22 million to restore the centuries-old Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue in Alexandria after its ceiling collapsed.

The Project Sector of Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities last week sanctioned funding to restore and develop this historic synagogue, which was recently closed for several months do to a ceiling collapse, the Egypt Independent reported.

Al-Saeed Helmy Ezzat, head of Egypt’s Islamic and Coptic Monuments Department, said that although Egyptian law requires local communities to pay for such repairs, the national government is funding the Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue restoration.

The synagogue, known as the Jewish Temple in Alexandria, has a seating capacity of more than 700. Originally built in 1354, it was bombed in 1798 when France invaded Egypt. The synagogue was rebuilt in 1850 with contributions from the Muhammad Ali dynasty.

The 150-year-old Sephardic synagogue offers a glimpse of what the Jewish community was like in its prime. The magnificent building, one of the largest synagogues in the Middle East, boasts towering Italian marble columns and was used by the Jewish community in Alexandria, which numbered around 20,000 until the 1930s. Today, only 17 Jews officially reside in Alexandria.

In September 2016, the Israeli Embassy expressed its willingness to contribute to the restoration of the synagogue.

By: JNS.org and World Israel News Staff