Egyptian Jews pick new leader
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Egyptian Jews pick new leader

Magda Haroun named new president of dwindling Jewish community following death of Carmen Weinstein

This undated photograph shows Carmen Weinstein, leader of Egypt’s dwindling and aging Jewish community, who died Saturday, April 13, 2013 at the age of 82 (photo credit: AP/Samir W Raafat)
This undated photograph shows Carmen Weinstein, leader of Egypt’s dwindling and aging Jewish community, who died Saturday, April 13, 2013 at the age of 82 (photo credit: AP/Samir W Raafat)

The Egyptian Jewish community unanimously elected Magda Haroun as its new leader on Monday, following the death Saturday of Carmen Weinstein, the long-time president of the Jewish Community in Cairo.

Haroun’s first task would be to take care of Weinstein’s funeral arrangements scheduled for Thursday, she told German news agency DPA.

Haroun, the daughter of politician Maitre Haroun, “is fluent in Arabic, French, English and moderate Italian and is fond of painting and handicrafts,” according to the Jewish community’s Bassatine newsletter, which reported on her election.

Weinstein was known for her tireless work preserving synagogues and a once-sprawling Jewish cemetery. She helped urge Egyptian authorities to renovate at least four Cairo synagogues during her tenure. Some 15 still exist in the megacity.

Weinstein will be buried in the Bassatine cemetery she herself worked to save since 1978. It is the only Jewish cemetery left in Cairo and is the largest in Egypt.

Her funeral is scheduled for April 18, according to the Bassatine newsletter.

According to Haroun, only around 40 Egyptian Jews remain in the country, split between Cairo and the Mediterranean city of Alexandria that was also once a thriving multicultural and cosmopolitan hub.

Egypt’s once thriving Jewish community largely left more than 60 years ago at a time of hostilities between the country and Israel.

AP contributed to this report.

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