The Jewish synagoge of Qamishlo in Syria

On one of my recent trips to the Kurdish self-administered parts of Syria – better known as ‘Rojava’ – my local fixer told me something very interesting. According to him, there was a Jewish synagogue, a graveyard, and perhaps even a small community of Jews left in Qamishlo. After some research, we were quite certain that the Jewish community of this city was nothing but a rumour anymore. People in the city have heard of such a community, but they all said, that this was past by now. An article published on Jerusalem Post in 2006 was able to track …

The Jewish cemetery of Cairo, Egypt

One of the oldest Jewish cemeteries in the world is located in Cairo, the capital of Egypt. Before Israel was founded, Egypt had a flourishing Jewish community. Now the community is believed to consist of no more than 30 to 40 people, all of them living in Cairo and Alexandria. Each of these cities still has a working synagogue. Both of them are not publicly accessible, but opened on high Jewish holidays like Yom Kippur.     Another trace of the former thriving Jewish life in Egypt is the Jewish cemetery in Cairo. It is located roughly in the south …

The Jewish cemetery of Khartoum, Sudan

Very close to the central bus station, south of Souq al-Araby, Khartoum still has a tiny Jewish cemetery. The graveyard features no more than maybe 40-50 graves, many of them are in dire shape. The cemetery is located in an area of Khartoum that has a lot of car workshops. The workshops use the cemetery as a scrapyard and as a place to store their spare parts. The newest grave dates back to the forties, before Sudan became independent in 1956. At its peak, Sudan hosted 500-1000 Jews mostly living in Khartoum and Omdurman. There is another cemetery in Omdurman, …

The Jewish cemetery of Beirut, Lebanon

Welcome to the Jewish cemetery in Beirut, Lebanon.  Many visitors of Beirut would never think that this city actually has a very old Jewish cemetery, which is located right on Sodeco square near the district of Ashrafiyeh. The cemetery is closed off to the public since many years, but it is possible to see some of the tombstones from Damascus road from the outside. Even the head of the Jewish committee in Lebanon, Isaac Arazi (who lives in France permanently) is not allowing any visitors inside, so I was really lucky to get these shots.   The cemetery is generally …