Egypt Independent

Egypt to register Torah scrolls, other synagogue relics as antiquities



The Supreme Council of Antiquities in Egypt has approved registering 13 artifacts, including Torah scrolls, candlesticks and lanterns, belonging to synagogues in Alexandria and across Egypt’s governorates, in preparation for listing them under the Antiquities Protection Law.

Mohamed Mahran, head of the Central Department of Jewish Antiquities at the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities, said that the move to approve registering the pieces as antiquities represents the first of its kind.

In a conversation with Al-Masry Al-Youm, Mahran said that specialized scientific and technical committees had submitted a list of 500 pieces from 13 different Egyptian synagogues, including the Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue in Alexandria.

The Permanent Committee for Antiquities then approved the selection of 13 artifacts from the list.

The Supreme Council of Antiquities approved the selected artifacts in accordance with established regulations, Mahran noted, adding that the pieces handpicked for antiquity status under the Antiquities Protection Law are over 100 years old and have a specific history.

The Council recommended that the remaining 487 pieces be preserved in preparation for further study and scientific research. The pieces came from a group of around 6,000 total artifacts examined by scientific and technical committees, which included academic professors specializing in archaeology and experts from the Ministry of Antiquities.

In related news, the Central Department of Jewish Antiquities is currently awaiting approval from the Supreme Council of Antiquities to document 60 headstones from important tombs belonging to Jewish residents and rabbis across 3 major cemeteries dating back approximately 170 years – the two al-Shatby tombs and a tomb from the Azarita area – all of which are located in Alexandria.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm