High Holiday prayers canceled in Alexandria synagogue

For security reasons, last Jewish house of worship in Egyptian city will stay closed for Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur

Aaron Kalman is a former writer and breaking news editor for the Times of Israel

The Eliyahu Hanavi synagogue in Alexandria (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
The Eliyahu Hanavi synagogue in Alexandria (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Egyptian authorities have canceled prayers at Alexandria’s only active synagogue during the upcoming holidays, and for the first time in years the building will remain vacant on the Jewish New Year and Yom Kippur.

Rabbi Avraham Dayan had organized a prayer group of 10 men to travel to the Eliyahu Hanavi synagogue for the High Holidays later this month, but was informed the house of worship would not be open to groups this year, he told Yedioth Ahronoth on Monday.

The closure was reportedly ordered for security reasons.

Considered one of the oldest active synagogues in the world, and the largest in the Middle East, the Eliyahu Hanavi synagogue was constructed in 1354 and re-built in 1850 after being damaged in a French invasion in 1798.

Alexandria used to boast a community of some 40,000 Jews, but by the 1990s only 50 or so members remained in the city.

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