Muslims in Egypt are trying to preserve its Jewish heritage
IN BUT a few years one of the world’s oldest Jewish communities will have disappeared. No more than 20 Jews are thought to remain in Egypt, compared with at least 80,000 before the second world war. Half a dozen live in Cairo—four of them in care homes. But Magda Haroun (pictured), a sprightly 65-year-old, wants to keep their memories alive. She has formed an association, Drop of Milk, dedicated to preserving Egypt’s Jewish heritage. Of its 20 active members, she is the only Jew.
Some members have Jewish fathers who converted to Islam to avoid expulsion under Gamal Abdel Nasser, Egypt’s former dictator, an aggressive Arab nationalist. Others married Jews. Most simply want to preserve Egypt’s pluralist past. “We’re reopening a page of history that was deleted from our textbooks,” says Amir Ramsis, who directed a documentary about Jews in Egypt.
There are 12 synagogues left in Cairo. Many are in poor...