Ben Ezra Synagogue Cairo
It is one of the largest and most important synagogues in Egypt. Ben Ezra Synagogue Cairo
Located in the area of ” El Fustat ” in the Coptic Cairo of Egypt.
Ben Ezra Synagogue History
He was called ” Ben Ezra “, according to Ezra the scribe, one of the rabbis of the Jews.
The Synagogue originally ” Orthodox Church ” and was sold to the Jewish community.
Throughout history, the temple has been used by the majority of Jewish communities in Egypt.
It used by Iraqi Jews, the ” Ashkenazi ” and the ” Sefardim “, and ended up as a synagogue for the rabbinical Jews after the Jewish community moved to Cairo in the ” Fatimid era ” and they spoke Arabic as their original language.
The Synagogue Contains a library and a collection of books about the history of the Jews in Egypt.
The synagogue consists of two floors
The first used for worshipers of men and the second for women’s prayer.
And contain two rows of marble columns with beautiful crowns, and is divided into three sections, the largest is the middle, which is above the of lighting and ventilation.
At the center of it is the preaching platform, around which the seats of worshipers are located, and the temple on the eastern side, containing the Ark of the Covenant and the scrolls of the Torah.
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Key points about the Ben Ezra Synagogue
The exact date of the synagogue’s construction is not certain, but it is believed to have been established in the 9th century. The synagogue has a long and rich history, having served as a place of worship and a center for Jewish scholarship in Cairo.
The most famous aspect of the Ben Ezra Synagogue is its association with the Cairo Geniza. A geniza is a storage area where Jewish texts, including Torah scrolls and documents, are placed when they are no longer in use but cannot be destroyed due to their sacred nature. The Cairo Geniza contained a vast collection of documents, some dating back to the 9th century, offering valuable insights into Jewish life, history, and culture in the Mediterranean region.
In the late 19th century, a pair of scholars, Solomon Schechter and Jacob S. Raisin, discovered the Geniza’s contents. This discovery was a significant historical event, as it provided a treasure trove of documents and manuscripts that shed light on Jewish and Middle Eastern history.
The Ben Ezra Synagogue reflects a mix of architectural styles, including Islamic, Coptic, and Jewish elements. The synagogue has a tranquil courtyard and features beautiful interiors with intricate decorative details.
The Ben Ezra Synagogue is a popular tourist attraction and remains an important historical and cultural site in Cairo. It is still used for occasional religious services and cultural events.
Over the years, there have been efforts to preserve and restore the synagogue, ensuring its continued existence as a historical and cultural landmark.
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