(JNS.org) Youssef Gaon, the caretaker of the centuries-old Eliyahu Hanavi synagogue in Alexandria, Egypt, has refuted earlier reports in Israel that Egyptian authorities planned on canceling High Holiday services due to security concerns.
However, security concerns did change one component of the services. “The only difference is a rabbi and cantor who usually lead the services were denied entry to the country,” Gaon said, the Jerusalem Post reported. Instead, Gaon informed a Jewish official that he would lead services himself, the newspaper said.
Egypt’s historic and once vibrant Jewish community has been reduced to just a few dozen elderly members, down from nearly 80,000 in 1922. However, the small Jewish community has been spared during the Arab Spring protests. “Even at the height of protests the Jewish community was left alone,” said a Jewish official who spoke to Gaon, according to the Post.