Sunday, September 6, 2009

Concept of heritage opens positive interfaith horizons

This collection of excerpted passages below comes from the full NYTimes piece that explains the restoration of Jewish sites in Egypt.

The opening passage shows the reflexive hate for Jews in the region, but the article goes on to explain the history of Jews in the country, and the devotion to preserve this contribution in the name of Egypt's heritage.

Egypt's Public Embrace of a Jewish Past

Khalid Badr, 40, is pretty typical in that regard, living in a neighborhood of winding, rutted roads in Old Cairo, selling snacks from a kiosk while listening to the Koran on the radio. Asked his feelings about Jews, he replied matter-of-factly. "We hate them for everything they have done to us," Mr. Badr said, as casually as if he had been asked the time.

Later in the article Slackman tells of the Hawass's many projects for the restoration of Jewsih sites in Cairo and elsehwere

"If you don't restore the Jewish synagogues, you lose a part of your history," said Zahi Hawass,

Egypt has slowly, quietly been working to restore its synagogues for several years.

It is a historic one, actually, named after Rabbi Moses Ben Maimon, a physician and philosopher who is considered among the most important rabbinic scholars in Jewish history. He was born in Córdoba, Spain, in 1135, moved to Alexandria and eventually to Cairo.

There are fewer than 100, some say fewer than 80, Jews left in Egypt today, making the preservation projects all the more important, Rabbi Baker said.

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