Coptic Cairo - Ben Ezra Synagogue, Cairo

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  • Coptic Cairo - Ben Ezra Synagogue
    by machomikemd
  • Coptic Cairo - Ben Ezra Synagogue
    by machomikemd
  • Coptic Cairo - Ben Ezra Synagogue
    by machomikemd
  • saraheg77's Profile Photo

    Ben Ezra Synagogue

    by saraheg77 Written Jun 7, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Inside the Synagogue

    If you're going to be in Old Cairo, stop in the Ben Ezra Synagogue. You weren't allowed to take photos, so I bought this picture there. A church was first built on the site in 336 B.C. It was originally a Christian church. The church has undergone much restoration and the current building dates back to 1892 when the original collapsed. It was rebuilt following the old model. The church is a rectangle, two-story buiding with the 1st dedicated for the men and the 2nd is for the women.

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    Ben Ezra Synagogue

    by ATXtraveler Written May 21, 2004

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    Ben Ezra

    Within walking distance of Abu Serga, there is another religious facility that is also very important to the history of Cairo. Currently, there is debate going on still about whether the Ben Ezra Syn. was originally a Coptic church, and then was purchased by the Jews of that time period, or whether that was the original building. The official Jewish papers were removed by a different country, so true documentation is not available. What is known is that this is a wonderful piece of religious history, and once again, a free place.

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    Ben Ezra Synagogue

    by MM212 Updated Apr 27, 2007

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    Ben Ezra Synagogue
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    The sole synagogue in Coptic Cairo is said to have been built on the spot where Pharaoh's daughter found Moses. Although this theory goes back thousands of years, the Synagogue itself is less ancient. An older church existed until the 9th century when the Jewish community bought it from the Christians and turned it into a synagogue. It is unknown how much of the original church survived, but at least the floor plan did. Architecturally, the synagogue is an intriguing a mix of Jewish, Christian and Islamic styles. The Ben Ezra synagogue is also where the famous 11th century manuscripts, referred to as the Geniza, were found. Note that photography is forbidden in the interior (I had to snap quickly!).

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    Ben Ezra Synagogue

    by vesna04 Updated Sep 1, 2007

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    Ben Ezra's Temple has been erected in the 6th or presumably the 9th Century AD which makes it one of the oldest surviving synagogues, although it is now a museum more than a functioning synagogue.

    The legend says that until the 9th century, there was a church instead. The Jewish community bought it from Copts who needed the money to pay taxes to the Islamic rulers.
    According to another legend Moses, left in the basket, was found here by Pharaoh's daughter.
    In 19th century over 400,000 items were discovered there, including a valuable collection of ancient manuscripts and Torah scrolls, that are thousands of years old.

    The Ben Ezra Library is situated in a small building in the south western courtyard behind the Ben Ezra Synagogue.

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  • call_me_rhia's Profile Photo

    Ben Ezra Synagogue - Coptic Cairo

    by call_me_rhia Updated Mar 21, 2005

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    the place where Moses was

    Ben Ezra Synogogue is the only non-christian religious building of Coptic Cairo. It's the oldest synagogue in the city, although it's not exactly a stunning one.

    Ben Ezra is more important for its library and legend than for its beauty. There are several manuscripts of interpretations of the Old Testament written in a very peculiar and ancient language: "Hebrew Arabic".

    As for the legend, behind the church you can see a place that once used to be along the Nile: it's the place where - allegedly - Moses was found and saved from the Nile waters

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  • Blatherwick's Profile Photo

    Ben Ezra Synagogue

    by Blatherwick Updated Jun 7, 2006

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    Ben Ezra Synagogue

    Ben Ezra Synagogue is the oldest synagogue in Egypt. It was built on the site where it is believed that the Pharaoh's daughter found Moses. There is a well at the back of the temple where the coffers in which Prophet Moses as an infant was supposedly placed by his mother. This place was originally a Christian church that was bought from The Copts in 882 AD. Rebuilding in the 19th century revealed a number of medieval manuscripts, including secular and religious documents, called the "Geniza".

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  • sswagner's Profile Photo

    Ben Ezra Synagogue

    by sswagner Written Jul 11, 2006

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    Ben Ezra Synagogue

    This is the oldest known Jewish structure in Egypt. The synagogue is not in use today, however it is open to visitation once you pass through a security check. The synagogue actually inhabits a building that was once a church. There is a very small Jewish population still in Egypt today. Therefore, the three principal monotheistic faiths: Judaism, Islam, and Christianity can all be found within the city.

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  • machomikemd's Profile Photo

    Only Synagogue in Coptic Cairo

    by machomikemd Written Oct 28, 2013
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    The Ben Ezra Synagogue was formerly a Coptic Church in the Coptic Quarter but the Coptic Christians were forced to sell it to a rich Egyptian Jew at the Time to pay for the Jizya (tax on Non Muslims) forced on them by the Fatimids. Since the 10th Century, it became a synagogue for egyptian jews and inside the famed Ancient Hebrew Manuscripts, called Cairo Geniza are found. The Synagogue is open to the Public and sits just a stone's throw away from the Abu Serga Church and admission is free. however, no photos or videos are allowed inside the synagogue, just outside.

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  • Ezra Synagogue Harkens to a Happier Time

    by CairoTour Written Dec 31, 2006

    The Ezra synagogue of Old Cairo which housed the famed Genizah compilation is in good shape and we were treated to an explanation by Abed Elhamid, in his words, the only Egyptian holding an advanced degree in Hebrew studies from an Israeli University (TA), who spoke to us in Hebrew. While there I heard a guide in hajib explaining to two tourists about the second floor ezrat nashim (women's section of the synagogue) that Jews now pray together and not segregated by sex. When I corrected her (Sex segregation during prayer is still practiced by Orthodox Jews) she was surprised about my affirmative response to her query as to whether I was Jewish. The synagogue hosts Israeli embassy staff formal occasions, like bar-mitzva's and Chanukah candle lighting.

    For more information and links, check my website:
    http://www.cairotour.org/jewish.htm

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    Ben Ezra Synagogue

    by PierreZA Updated Oct 27, 2007

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    Ben Ezra Synagogue

    Very interseting history. It seems that there are more than one story around the history. It is the oldest synagogue in Egypt.
    Photography not allowed inside.

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