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The capital and largest city of Egypt, and also the most populous city in Africa and in the Arab World.
  • Bassatine Cemetery: website and cemetery map: "The Bassatine Jewish cemetery lies between the center of Cairo and the suburb of Maadi. The Bassatine cemetery is the second oldest after that of the Mount of Olives, (r.868-884 AD). Bassatine cemetery was conceived over 1,000 years ago when the sultan ordered the creation of a public square in his new city of al-Kata'e (The Wards) north of al-Fostat, necessitating the removal of Christian and Jewish cemeteries. To compensate the Jewish community for the loss of its communal graveyard, the Jewish people would receive 10 hectares in the desert area of Bassatine. This land, part of the desert, was donated in the 9th century by Sultan Ahmed ibn Touloun to the Jewish community of Egypt. Jews was then represented by Saadia ben Joseph (a.k.a. Said al-Fayoumi), an Egyptian Jewish literary and political figure of the Middle Ages, who wrote in Arabic. Many celebrated Egyptian Jews are buried there.
  • Bassatine's land size is 120 feddans (1 feddan = 4,200 sq.m.), originally to be divided equally between Rabbinical and Karate Jews. The Karate portion has almost completely disappeared except for two large vaults. The Rabbinical Jews portion (60 feddans) has suffered considerable damage, halted by Ms. Carmen Weinstein, whose restoration continues. No walls enclose the space. After 1967, most marble slabs covering individual graves were stolen. Therefore, most vaults and some of the land with graves or without graves was taken over by squatters from Upper Egypt as well as by the low strata of Cairene origins. Moreover, roads were driven through the cemetery, a continuing quarry for marble and building stone. In 1978, Carmen Weinstein saved the cemetery. She hired a guard, paid for by her own personal funds for a period of ten years. In 1988, the government decided to build a "ring road" around Cairo. Part of that road was to cross right the cemetery center, endangering 300 graves. The cemetery suddenly received international attention. Rabbis, reporters, and head of missions flocked to the cemetery and viewed it with dismay but no donations. In 1991, the World Sephardic Federation sent additional funds to construct a 3-meter high x 2,000-meter long wall encompassing about 35 feddans, more than half the cemetery. Squatters were evicted. Carmen Weinstein also restored a vault within the walled area, (taking it from a squatting mechanic who used it as a workshop for twenty years) for offices and exhibition gallery, plus a small room for storing recovered marble slabs. The cemetery today is accessible through two large iron gates with a Mogen David on them. Trees were planted in alleys inside the cemetery. Most of the graves have been realigned. For further information see the Internet. [1995
  • "Aaron Kiviat ... will embark this summer on a program to digitize the Basasatine Cemetery. In other words, with the help of a hand-picked team Kiviat will (i) map out the cemetery--that part which is now enclosed by a wall; (ii) record on camera all marked tombstones; and (iii) put over 4,000 names still in evidence on a soon-to-be accessible database. This milestone project will be of ENORMOUS help for all those who are trying to locate, identify, pinpoint, where there loved ones are buried. This project is made possible thanks to the initiative and intervention of the JCC Cairo, funds availed in the USA from friends and supporters of Aaron Kiviat, Carmen Weinstein for providing suitable downtown Cairo lodgings along with transport and communication arrangements to and from Bassatine, and to JCC travel advisor Joseph Kazasian for providing cheap air transport to and from the West Coast. And, of-course, team leader Aaron Kiviat." [2000]
  • Story about indexing cemetery [2000]
  • Video. [August 2009]
  • "Egypt's remaining Jews gather to bury one of their own." The Telegraph. [19 Apr 2013]
Private cemeteries: In addition to Bassatine cemetery, Cairo has a number of smaller private cemeteries belonging prominent Jewish families such as the Ades, Cattaui, Levy, Mosseri and Sapriel families. Walled and with private watchmen, these cemeteries are better preserved.
Last Updated on Saturday, 20 April 2013 15:08
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