The battered, dwindling Jewish community of Cairo is skipping one of its few remaining activities this year–the community Passover “seder,” the festive, ritual meal that marks the beginning of the holiday. Here is the announcement in the community’s newsletter:
This has been a year of tragedy for Cairo’s Jews, a few dozen women in their twilight years. Longtime leader Carmen Weinstein passed away last April, and then the youngest member of the community, Nadia Haroun, sister of Ms. Weinstein’s successor Magda Haroun, died suddenly last month. I had some contacts with Nadia, and she was always friendly and calm despite the circumstances. I don’t know if she shared her sister’s stand-offish attitude toward Israel, but I didn’t feel anything negative from either one. There are two chapters in “Broken Spring” about the decline of Egypt’s Jewish community. The circumstances, the outcome and especially the future are grim.
The Ben Ezra Synagogue in Cairo, where the famous geniza of ancient documents was found, is a museum today.