Ben Ezra Synagogue



Among the few monuments that testify to the life of Jews in Egypt is the Ben Ezra Synagogue. Their history on these lands dates back to the Old Testament era, the stories of Moses and the persecutions by the pharaohs. According to legend, the synagogue dates back to the time of Moses, but the building was originally a church, built in the eighth century. About 300 years later, the church was destroyed and the site with the ruins was donated to Abraham ben Ezra, rabbi of Jerusalem in the twelfth century. In this article, we will talk about this historical and religious site.


Not far from downtown Cairo and Tahrir Square, The Ben Ezra Synagogue is one of the Egyptian Jewish temples. It is located in the Al-Fustat area (Old Cairo neighborhood). It is one of the largest and most important, especially with the Egyptian government taking care of it, restoring it, and transforming it into a tourist attraction. And because its library contains precious books and Jewish periodicals that chronicle the presence of the Jewish community in Egypt.

The Synagogue of Ben Ezra is located within Coptic Cairo, one of the oldest visited Synagogues during Cairo Day Tours. Generally, the synagogue is described as "A prayer place for the Jews.", it means in old Greek: "The usual place where the Jews assemble to receive religious teachings and to worship.  as for protection from any attack, not just for ablution and living " most of these Temples were built close to a source of water, The Synagogue of Ben Ezra in Cairo was named El-Shamieen Church, and is now situated behind the Hanging church of Holy Virgin Mary".
 

The Synagogue already had an old model of the Old Testament, it was said that ( Ezra Prophet (Al-Azir) had signed it. However, It is believed that the site of the Synagogue is where the box of Baby prophet 'Moses' was found.

Most ancient books and research indicate that the synagogue was already a Coptic church, and this opinion is based on the news that was narrated from the Church of "Angel Michael" that the patriarch sold to the Jews in 882 AD, in order to collect an amount of money or a measure of gold, imposed by Ahmed bin Tulun.

The Synagogue received extensive restorations and renovations through the centuries. But the current building dates back to 1892 after the original collapse.

The importance of the temple comes from the fact that it contains a "funeral room" located at the end of the women's hall, which absorbed a huge treasure trove of funeral documents from the Middle Ages until the nineteenth century when it was discovered, as the temple contains artifacts including ancient wooden doors and paintings.

It is built in the shape of a basilica (rectangle), consisting of 2 floors; the 1st dedicated to the men while the 2nd is dedicated to the women. The entrance is situated on the north side and considered one of the important things to do in Cairo.
The foyer also contains a prayer and preaching platform, and the structure in the eastern wall heading to Jerusalem, and contains the ark of the covenant and scrolls of the Torah, and the second floor contains the balcony of women above the foyer of the temple, and the decorations that decorate its walls represent units of Jewish art, which are scenes inspired by The Torah, and Islamic decorative elements such as arabesque, brides and star dishes.

During the restoration works in the 19th century, numerous Hebrew manuscripts were found in the treasury of the synagogue. In Egypt, any document bearing the name of God had to be preserved, and this allowed that many documents, dating largely from the eleventh and twelfth centuries, came down to us.

Visit the Ben Ezra Synagogue if you're planning any tours to Egypt or from our varieties of tours from Cairo.

 

Egypt Travel Packages Including The Synagogue of Ben Ezra and a lot of the exceptional sites and historical cities:

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