Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Levana Zamir returns to Cairo for New Year celebrations

It was certainly one of the more unusual celebrations of the Jewish New Year: foreign diplomats and other distinguished guests gathered on 29 September in the Adly synagogue, Cairo, to hear 'prayers' led by Eden Goldberger, the wife of Thomas, the US Charge d'Affaires. 


Mrs Eden Goldberger addressing distinguished guests at the Rosh Hashana celebration in the Adly synagogue, Cairo

The Jewish community in Cairo has not had formal services since the death in 2013 of Carmen Weinstein, former community president.  Now led by Magda Haroun, it  comprises just five elderly women.

This year, the event was all the more remarkable for the presence of one guest: Levana Zamir, president of the organisation representing Jews from Egypt in Israel, and the Israeli umbrella group representing associations of Jews from Arab and Muslim countries.

Levana Zamir was given a warm welcome as she attended the Adly synagogue with her daughter and grandchildren at the invitation of the Cairo Jewish Community and the Drop of Milk Association, which is currently cataloguing and restoring Jewish artefacts. She was also honoured with a tour of the Eliyahu Hanavi synagogue in Alexandria, which is being repaired by the Egyptian authorities at a cost of $5.6 million.


Levana Zamir with Mr Abdel Nabi, General manager of the Eliyahu Hanavi synagogue (left) and Roberto Marini, president of the Jewish Community of Alexandria. 

In a sense, Levana Zamir's visit represents a new beginning: Since taking over as head of Cairo's Jews, Magda Haroun has vowed not to have any dealings with 'Zionists'. Yet the two women were seen getting along famously.

Cairo-born Levana had not visited Egypt since 2008, when 45 Egyptian Jews from Israel were forced to cut short their 'roots' trip and cancel a conference after scaremongering by the Egyptian media that they were coming back to reclaim their property.

Since the signing of the 1979 Israel-Egypt peace treaty,  Levana Zamir had made nine trips to her country of birth. Roughly half the Jews expelled from Egypt now live in Israel.

Levana Zamir with Cairo community leader Magda Haroun: getting along famously? 

To see a video made by Keisar Zamir, Levana's grandson, recording the highlights of their trip, click here

2 comments:

https://alifeamongtheweeds.blogspot.com/2021/02/greetings-well-i-have-left-facebook-and.html said...

It was interesting this Rosh Hashanna in our Reform Shul to welcome a Turkish guy who has lived in Essex for 20years because his life story was about Merchant Navy experience in Ashford. With only one Jewish grandparent, he spoke to me about the miracles he'd witnessed and how his mother had teased him for his early affinity with all things Jewish. Yavez Salim being his birthname

https://alifeamongtheweeds.blogspot.com/2021/02/greetings-well-i-have-left-facebook-and.html said...

Ashdod NOT Ashford