Friday, January 22, 2010

Egypt: Restoration Continues at Cairo's Rambam Synagogue

Egypt: Restoration Continues at Cairo's Rambam Synagogue

(ISJM) The Blog Point of No Return posts information about the restoration of the Maimonides (Rambam) Synagogue in Cairo, begun in summer of 2008, with completion planned for March 2010. The complex is one of nine synagogues in Egypt listed as historical heritage sites protected by the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities. The current extensive restoration program is a joint project of the Supreme Council of Antiquities and the Jewish Community of Cairo. This is the first major restoration of Jewish site in Egypt since the much-heralded restoration Cairo's Ben Ezra Synagogue in the 1980s and early 1990s, a project put in motion during the euphoria following the Camp David Accords.

Judging from the video of the project posted last summer on YouTube, a March completion date may still be overly ambitious - or it may mean cutting corners in order to make it happen. In case, there is progress. The Synagogue is actually a 19th century construction that replaces older buildings, but is adjacent to . an historic and venerated yeshiva associated with Maimonides. - which itself has had a recent history of disasters - recurring flooding from underground water and 1992 earthquake damage. The Yeshiva rooms have niches where, until recently, sick Jews, Muslim and Christians would spend the night praying for their recovery, or for women especially, fertility.

The ongoing restoration is intended to return the yeshiva and synagogue compound to its original (whatever that means) splendor .

I've had no inside information about this project, nor have I ever worked in Egypt, so I cannot comment about the scope or quality of the work, but I encourage those in the know to forward information.

No comments: