A fine New York Times dispatch casts the restoration of an old Cairo synagogue and even older Jewish religious school as a symbol of the tension between Egypt’s political peace with Israel and its population’s deep-seated antipathy toward the Jewish state. Egypt spent nearly $2 million on the shul, only to mute awareness of the fact, and only to bar the news media from the re-opening. Weird.
But what’s really cool is just what the school was: It’s where Maimonides, the Rambam, worked! The synagogue was built in the 19th century in honor of the Rambam; the religious school is where he worked in the 1100s. I asked Sherwin Nuland, author of Nextbook Press’s Maimonides, for his thoughts. “For centuries after the death of Maimonides,” Nuland told me, “it was common for sick Jews to spend the night in this synagogue, in the hope that the great Rambam would heal them.” And they can again. If they’ve heard about it.