Egypt Approves $2.2M for Restoration of Historic Shul

The Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue in Alexandria. (Uri Lenz/Flash90)

The Egyptian government has approved a $2.2 million plan to restore the historic Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue in Alexandria.

Last Wednesday, the Ministry of Antiquities’ Project Sector approved the funds for restoring and developing the Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue, according to the head of the Islamic and Coptic Monuments Department, al-Saeed Helmy Ezzat.

A part of the ceiling of the shul fell down a few months ago, causing the closure of the building.

Feasibility and research studies needed for the implementation of restoration have been completed, Ezzat told the Egyptian newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm.

The project will involve the architectural restoration of the shul and will start immediately after approval from the Board of Directors of the Antiquities Ministry.

Ezzat said in an interview to Al-Masry Al-Youm that his Ministry had appropriated 40 million Egyptian pounds ($2.2 million) for the renovations.

Ezzat added that the government will pay for the restoration, even though Egyptian law generally requires the community to cover such repair work.

The Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue, a luxurious building, was built in 1354. It was bombed by the French during their invasion of Egypt in 1798, and was rebuilt in 1850 with contributions from the Muhammad Ali Dynasty.

It was used by the Jewish community in Alexandria, which numbered around 20,000, until the 1930s.

It is the last active shul in Alexandria, but due to the dwindling number of Jews in Alexandria, minyanim are held at the shul very infrequently.

Inside the Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue. (Uri Lenz/Flash90)