Jewish Community in Cairo Shrinking; Unable to Maintain Institutions

A gloomy picture of the life of the Jewish community in Egypt is given in a report from Cairo by Joe Alex Morris Jr., special correspondent of the New York Herald Tribune. Only a “slender fraction” of the estimated 80,000 Jews who lived in Egypt has now remained there, the American correspondent established.

Mr. Morris attended the annual meeting of the Cairo Jewish Community Council in the Temple Ismailia. “The meeting.” he reports, “was conducted by two vice-presidents of the community. The president emigrated two years ago and they are still looking for a suitable replacement. The council also took note of the departure of three other council members which ‘left a large gap’ in its activities. Some 30 of the 400 remaining eligible members of the community were present to hear the annual report. The meeting had been scheduled a week earlier, but was postponed for lack of a quorum. The rules of procedure state that in such cases the meeting can be held a week later, without a quorum.”

The Cairo Jewish community, it was reported at the meeting, has 70 properties including 18 temples, three schools, a home for the aged, a social center, a free lunch establishment for the poor, but only a few buildings which bring in any income. The schools have some 500 students, 300 of them of Jewish faith. The community’s big problem is to try and maintain its services with a steadily declining income. Receipts by the rabbinate for administrative services were less than one-third of income received the previous year; gatherings at the various temples were down by the same amount, and the school deficit has increased by about $10,000 to $30,000.

“The Council’s estimate of the future was pessimistic. It advised members that ‘this deficit cannot be overcome nor sensibly reduced.’ The only reducing which seemed likely was in the already shrunken size of the Jewish community,” the correspondent emphasized.

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