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Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Synagogue controversy in Egypt

I reported yesterday about the Maimonides (Rambam) synagogue being rededicated in Cairo, and quoted the World Jewish Congress website as saying:
Egyptian officials were absent from the ceremony, and Culture Minister Faruk Hosni said Sunday's opening was a purely religious ceremony. Zahi Hawass, the head of Egypt’s Antiquities Department, said that a more formal opening next Sunday would be attended by Egyptian officials.
This is being reported differently in Egypt.

The Al-Shorouq newspaper is quoting others as saying that the Egyptian government was outraged that the tiny Jewish community of Cairo invited Israeli representatives to the opening ceremonies. This was considered "inappropriate and unacceptable" to Egyptian officials, who felt that they could not attend if Israelis were there for the ceremony.

The second re-dedication ceremony that was mentioned as being scheduled for March 14th is up in the air as well, as Egyptian officials are now saying that the restoration is not complete yet and will have to wait until the synagogue is completely ready.