JERUSALEM (JTA) — A synagogue in the ancient Jewish quarter of Cairo opened after a two-year government-sponsored restoration.
The 19th century Synagogue of Maimonides was reopened Sunday in the presence of Israeli and U.S. ambassadors and other officials, including rabbis.
No Egyptian officials were in attendance at the ceremony, according to the French news agency AFP. Culture Minister Faruq Hosni told AFP that was because Sunday’s opening was a religious ceremony. Egyptian officials are scheduled to attend a formal ceremony to be held March 14.
The $2 million synagogue restoration undertaken by the Egyptian government took 18 months. It is expected to be a tourist attraction.
The synagogue, named after the 12th-century Jewish scholar Rabbi Moses ben Maimon, or Maimonides, is built over the site where he was buried for a short time before his remains were moved to Tiberias in Israel.
Egypt began restoring its Jewish sites several years ago; there are 11 synagogues in Egypt. Only a few dozen Jews remain in Egypt.