An Inventory to the Jamie Lehmann Memorial Collection Records of the Jewish Community of Cairo, 1886-1961

An Inventory to the Jamie Lehmann Memorial Collection
Records of the Jewish Community of Cairo, 1886-1961

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Collection Overview

Title:Jamie Lehmann Memorial Collection - Records of the Jewish Community of Cairo
Inclusive Dates:1886-1961
Bulk Dates:1920-1960
Size:6.75 linear feet
Number of boxes:11 manuscript boxes and 1 oversized box
Abstract:Consists of account books, by-laws, case files, certificates, correspondence, legal documents, minutes, photographs and reports from the Sephardic and Ashkenazic Jewish communities of Cairo. Also contains minute registers of two lodges of the International Order of B'nai B'rith in Cairo, which provide information crucial for understanding the modernization of Egyptian Jewry that took place in the early decades of the twentieth century.
Languages: Materials are in French, Hebrew, Arabic, English, Yiddish and Italian.
Call No:1986.009

About This Guide

Written by Roger S. Kohn.

Finding aid revised in March, 2008 to refine series structure and correct errata.

Text converted and initial EAD tagging provided by Apex Data Services, March 1999.

Converted from EAD 1.0 to EAD 2002, and updated as noted above, March, 2008.

Encoding is in English, with some French words and phrases.

The Jewish Community of Cairo in the Twentieth Century

Egyptian Economics and Politics (1869 - 1936)

European colonial intervention in African affairs in the mid-nineteenth century had its strongest impact on Egypt. French engineer Ferdinand de Lesseps built the Suez Canal (1869) and British engineers built the country's first railroad system. With French and British influence growing in the country, Egypt had to respond to international demands and pressures which destroyed its traditional economic structure. The subsistence farming system, which provided all essential goods required by the farmer and his family without leaving any surplus for sale, still prevailed in Egypt. It was abruptly replaced by an exchange economy based on international trade of goods and services. Events in other parts of the world also began to influence the Egyptian economy. The American Civil War (1861-1865) produced a boom for Egypt because the Confederacy could not export the cotton produced in the Southern states. Prices of Egyptian cotton increased fourfold on the world market. Soon after General Grant captured Richmond, Virginia, American cotton exports increased and prices collapsed in Egypt.

The economic crisis left the Egyptian monarch, the Khedive, without political power against the European nations. Great Britain, especially, wanted to protect its strategic interests, mainly to insure free passage of ships bound to and from India through the canal. The leading European colonial power could not tolerate the social unrest stirred by a growing Egyptian nationalism. When mutinies in the Khedive's armies and rioting against European naval bases occured, the British government sent an expeditionary force to the Suez Canal and occupied Cairo (1882). Great Britain ruled Egypt until 1922, maintaining only the facade of a Khedivial government.

The British protectorate over Egypt was administered by the British representative in Cairo. Sir Evelyn Baring, later Lord Cromer (1891), represented British interests in Egypt from the late 1870s until his retirement in 1907. The British "High Commissioners" who succeeded Lord Cromer were resented by the educated Egyptian nationalists. Egyptians, especially those born after the British protectorate took effect, were increasingly hostile to the European presence.

During World War I (1914-1918) England's position as a colonial power was weakened while her forces and resources were dedicated to the war against Germany. The activities of middle class nationalists in Egypt, curbed during the war, grew stronger after the Armistice. Egypt gained its independence in 1922 when Great Britain formally agreed to end its protectorate. Despite the declaration of independence, however, Great Britain retained control over the defense and diplomacy of the Kingdom of Egypt (1922-1952), thus maintaining its control of the Suez Canal and the Red Sea.

During the interwar period, three forces vied for power over Egypt: the King, Fuad I (born 1868), who reigned from 1922 until his death in 1936 and who frequently tried to limit the power of the Nationalist Party; the Wafd, founded by Saad Zaghlul Pasha (1857-1927), which controlled the parliament, the media and public opinion; and the British High Commissioner who remained active behind the scenes, albeit with reduced authority. After World War I, the High Commissioner represented only one weakened European nation, not the unrivaled Empire of Queen Victoria's days. After the death of Fuad, Great Britain signed a formal treaty of mutual defense and alliance with his son Farouk (1920-1965). Farouk reigned from 1936 to 1952 and died in exile in Rome.[1]

The Egyptian Jewish Community: Demography

Within a short period of time, fewer than sixty years, Egyptian society was completely transformed. Rapid changes affecting the economy and shifts in the political system had serious repercussions for the Jewish community. Modernization forced Egyptian Jews to reconsider their established customs and practices, and introduced western ideas into their culture.

There is no census of the Jewish population in Egypt until the end of the nineteenth century when an estimated 25,000 Jews lived in the country. The Jewish population increased to more than double between 1897, the year of the first available census, and 1917, when it was estimated at 60,000. This figure remained stable until the mass emigration of 1947. Today, only a few hundred Jews are left in Cairo and Alexandria.[2]

Not all Jews living in Egypt were Egyptian nationals. Since the "Capitulations" laws of the sixteenth century, European powers enjoyed extensive protection for their subjects anywhere in the Ottoman Empire. Under the Capitulations, European and American residents in Egypt were exempt from local taxes and were subject only to their own consular courts. The group of protected nationals was so broadly defined that it included Jews, despite the fact that there had been a continuous Jewish presence in Egypt since Biblical times. At the end of World War I, 60% of the Jews living in Egypt were foreign nationals, claiming British, French and Italian citizenship. The number decreased slightly after Egypt passed a law on nationality in 1929. Bureaucratic obstructions directed against all non-Muslims, Greeks, Copts and Jews, made it difficult for them to obtain Egyptian citizenship. Many Jews, although born in Egypt, were technically stateless because they were neither foreign nor Egyptian citizens.[3]

Jews in Egypt were urban dwellers, living mostly in the cities of Cairo and Alexandria. The Jewish population of Cairo almost tripled between 1897 and 1917. By 1947 nearly 65% of all Egyptian Jews lived in Cairo. Until the beginning of the twentieth century, the Jews living in Alexandria and in Cairo tended to be concentrated in a few neigborhoods, especially Jumruk in Alexandria and Jamaliya in Cairo. Jews gradually moved away from these Jewish quarters. Wealthy Cairo Jews built villas in modern residential areas of the capital, in Garden City and Heliopolis. The famous British bibliophile Elkan Nathan Adler, visiting the Middle East in the early 1900s, admired the residence of the most prominent Jewish family in Cairo, the Cattaui (Qattawi). His comments reflect the Cattaui's westernization and close ties with the colonial power:

... [The synagogue] adjoins the magnificent residence of M. Moses Cattaui [1850-1924], which was once the palace of one of Khedive Ismail's favorite Pasha, and was lent by its present owner to Lord Dufferin, who lived there during the three months or so that he spent in Egypt as England's Special Commissioner. For this attention, Queen Victoria sent M. Cattaui her portrait, which he treasures with no little pride. The garden is almost a park... Cattauis are great benefactors of their brethren and surpassed by none in public spirit and intelligent liberality.[4]

The Cattauis assumed a leadership role of such importance in the Cairo Jewish community, that their family history is closely intertwined with the history of the community as a whole.

The Cairo Jewish Community; The Cattauis

Moses Cattaui succeeded his father Jacob in 1883, as the leader of Cairo Jewry. In the early years, following his father's example, he exercised tight control over Jewish community affairs. Moses' inherited leadership did not remain undisputed for long, however. Activist members of the B'nai B'rith lodges in Cairo waged a ten year battle for modernization against Moses Cattaui during and after World War I. They ultimately compelled him and the older generation he represented to share the community leadership with them. Moses Cattaui nevertheless remained president of the Community Council until his death in 1924. The General Assembly of 1926 passed and approved a set of by-laws that governed the activities of the Jewish Community Council. Joseph Aslan Cattaui, who succeeded his uncle, presided over this Council and help further westernize the Jewish community.

Joseph Aslan Cattaui (1861-1942), trained in Paris as an engineer, was involved in numerous industrial ventures and had diverse financial interests including agriculture, transportation and sugar refining. He was a founding member of Misr, Egypt's leading bank. He began his political activity with his involvement in the drafting the Egyptian constitution in 1923. His wife was among the ladies-in-waiting at the royal court of Fuad and Farouk. Cattaui was elected deputy, appointed finance minister in 1924, and served as a senator from 1927 to 1939, when he resigned because of poor health. He assumed the leadership of the Cairo Jewish community in 1924 and despite illness and paralysis he remained at its head until his death. His second son, Rene, succeeded him and was active in Jewish affairs until his emigration in 1957.[5]

The Cairo Jewish Community: The Community Council and the Rabbinate

The by-laws of 1926 required that the Jewish community of Cairo be governed by a Council of eighteen members, each elected for a three year term by the General Assembly. To participate in the elections, a Cairo Jew had to be over age 21 and pay a personal tax called "Arikha" for three consecutive years. Activities of the community were funded by income from the Arikha, interest from investments, revenues from real estate properties, proceeds from synagogue operations, taxes on weddings and funerals, fees from notarized acts, income from ritual slaughtering and the annual lottery. Expenses consisted of salaries for rabbinical appointees and school administrators as well as support for the welfare agencies that cared for the many indigent Cairo Jews.[6]

The Community Council held its meetings at the main office of the Community, 12 rue Zaki. The Chief Rabbi's office and the records of the community were located there as well. There is no evidence that a recording secretary was assigned specifically to the Community Council. Minutes of the Council meetings seem to indicate that the Chief Rabbi's secretary, the Chancellor, acted as the Council secretary for all practical matters. The "chancellerie rabbinique" employed a "Chancelier" (chancellor), a clerk, and a Secretary to the Arikha. Abramino Ezri served as chancellor from March 1925 to May 1942. After his resignation, he remained honorary chancellor and his duties were divided and assigned to two administrators: general secretary ("secrétaire général") and accounting secretary ("secrétaire comptable").[7]

While the Council handled most administrative matters, religious questions were left to the discretion of the Chief Rabbi who was elected by the General Assembly and supervised the Rabbinical Court. The Cairo Rabbinical Court attracted very talented rabbis, many of whom later occupied important positions in other cities. Rabbi Jacob Moses Toledano (1880-1960), scion of a famous dynasty of Moroccan rabbis, was born, educated and ordained in Tiberias. He served as Av bet Din and deputy Chief Rabbi of Cairo from 1926 to 1929, and later became Chief Rabbi of Alexandria (1937-1942) and Tel-Aviv (1942). After the creation of the State of Israel, Rabbi Toledano served as Minister for Religious Affairs (1958). Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef (1920-) was head of the Cairo Rabbinical Court between 1947 and 1950 and later served as Israel's Sephardic Chief Rabbi. Rabbi Nissim Ohanah served as deputy Chief Rabbi in Cairo before he became Chief Rabbi of Haifa (1943-1966).

The pivotal figure in the twentieth century Cairo Rabbinical Court was Rabbi Haim Nahum (1872-1960) who served as Chief Rabbi of Egypt from 1928 to 1960.

Rabbi Nahum was born in Smyrna (Izmir), Turkey, and studied at the yeshiva (rabbinical academy) of Rabbi Ebbo in Tiberias for five years. Pursuing secular education along with religious learning, he was graduated from the imperial Lycee in Smyrna with a baccalaureat at the age of 17 and proceeded to study Muslim law in Constantinople. From there he moved to Paris where he continued his rabbinical education and, in 1897, earned his diploma of Chief Rabbi from the Rabbinical Seminary of France. He then returned to the Ottoman Empire to serve as assistant director of the Rabbinical Seminary of Constantinople. In 1907 he was sent to Abyssinia to study Falasha Jews at the request of the Alliance Israelite Universelle. In the same year he was elevated to the post of Chief Rabbi for the Ottoman Empire and retained the position until 1920. When Moses Cattaui reorganized the Cairo Jewish community, he called Rabbi Nahum to serve as Chief Rabbi of Egypt. Rabbi Nahum arrived in Egypt in 1924 and was confirmed in the position by a royal decree on March 2, 1925. He served in Egypt until his death, on November 14, 1960.[8]

Rabbi Nahum served Cairo Jewry and the entire Egyptian Jewish community for thirty-five years. In Egypt as in other countries, the Chief Rabbi represented the Jewish community to the civil authorities. With the death of Joseph Aslan Cattaui in 1942, the importance of Chief Rabbi Nahum's role as official spokesperson for Egyptian Jewry increased. He maintained the most cordial relations with the Kings of Egypt, Fuad and Farouk. After World War II, Chief Rabbi Nahum was confronted with the political upheavals that toppled the Egyptian monarchy and led to the Nasser regime.

In retrospect, the inter-war period was the golden age of modern Egyptian Jewry. Secular leadership with the Cattauis and religious leadership with Chief Rabbi Nahum reached a peak between 1924 and 1948.

Egypt after World War II

Great Britain used Egypt and its military bases for the World War II campaign against the Axis armies, especially the German Afrika Korps of General Rommel. Egyptian public opinion grew increasingly anti-British and by the end of World War II a faction-ridden Egypt was virtually ungovernable. The Muslim Brotherhood, founded in 1928 as an Islamic reformist movement, developed into a militant Islamic popular party. The Brotherhood organized violent demonstrations in Cairo against the British presence, demonstrations which often turned into anti-Jewish riots. Prime Minister an-Nuqrashi Pacha who tried to quell the growing activism was assassinated in December 1948. The first Arab-Israeli War (1948-1949) which ended in a defeat for the royal armies, led the nation to turn its anger against the Jewish community.[9]

The Egyptian Jewish community was divided on the issue of Zionism. During the first decades of the twentieth century, most Egyptian Jews had no opinion on what they perceived to be a predominantly European movement. The renewed anti-Zionist violence in Palestine in 1929 and 1936 and the rising anti-Semitism in Europe in the 1930s led many Egyptian Jews to embrace the cause of Zionism. Wealthy Jews did not overtly advocate Zionism, although they may have been quiet admirers and even financial supporters. Leaders of the organized Jewish community officially maintained strict neutrality on the issue, a neutrality which was perceived by some to border on hostility to Jewish nationalistic aspirations in Palestine.[10]

Since the early 1940s, November 2nd, the anniversary of the Balfour Declaration of 1917 granting British support to the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine, became an occasion for uprisings and anti-Jewish demonstrations. In November 1945, the Ashkenazi synagogue, the home for the elderly, the soup kitchen and the hospital were burned. The meeting of the Arab League in Cairo at the end of 1947 brought some of the most violent anti-Zionist agitators in the Arab world to the Egyptian capital. The decision of the United Nations to create two states in Palestine was viewed by the Arab League as a tremendous defeat. An attack on the Yishuv appeared imminent upon the departure of the British mandate forces from Palestine. Wealthy Egyptian Jews received anonymous blackmail letters requesting funds to fight Jews in Palestine. Egyptian nationalists were using Anti-Zionism as a substitute for a rallying ideology: the Chamber of Deputies debated the passing of a bill which made Zionism an offense punishable by life imprisonment.

When the State of Israel was created, martial law was imposed on Egyptian civilians. Fifty prominent Jews were imprisoned for alleged breaches of security and remained in jail for more than a year without trial. Jews could not leave the country without a special permit and an office was created for the sequestration of Jewish property. As the anonymous correspondent for the American Jewish Year Book reported, "the latter half of 1948, following the creation of the state of Israel, was a nightmare of persecution, discrimination, economic deprivation, and general terror and insecurity for the Jews of Egypt."[11] On June 20 an explosion in the Jewish quarter left thirty-four dead. Retail stores were often the target of bombing. When on July 19 the Cicurel store was bombed, its owner accused the bomb experts of the Egyptian army of being responsible for the wave of bombing in July and August.[12] More than two hundred Jews were murdered or seriously injured in July 1948. Violence continued in August and September and many Jews disregarded the anti-emigration laws and fled.

After the assassination of Prime Minister an-Nuqrashi Pasha in December 1948, the tensions eased. The Egyptian press ceased publishing inflammatory articles against the Jews and properties sequestered in May 1948 were returned to their legitimate owners after April 1949. The Israeli defeat of the Arab forces in June 1949 brought another wave of anti-Jewish agitation, arson and unexplained bombings of Jewish properties. By January 1950, however, all Jews previously interned for pro-Zionist activities had been released.[13]

Riots against Jews were only one symptom of a political situation in decay. General elections in January 1950 saw the return to power of the nationalist party Wafd, which soon abrogated the treaty with the British and incited anti-British demonstrations. British military action in Ismailia was followed by a full-fledged uprising in Cairo on January 26, 1952. The Jewish schools at Abbassiya were utterly destroyed. Egyptian officers, led by General Mohammed Naguib, exploited the situation and toppled the monarchy in a coup in July 1952. For the next three decades, Egypt was governed by Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser (1918-1970) who led a pro-Soviet Egypt into a Middle-Eastern form of social democracy.

With the new regime, attacks against Jews took a more vicious turn. Nasser orchestrated trials of Egyptian Jews similar to those taking place in the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin. In April 1954, seven young Jews were sentenced to prison. Mass arrests of Jews took place in June and July 1954, and Jewish notables were incarcerated under various pretexts, such as being "Zionist smugglers." A well publicized trial, known as "the trial of the thirteen," opened on December 11, 1954. The defendants were accused of being a gang of Zionist spies and saboteurs collecting military information for Israel. After a mockery of a trial, they were sentenced. The two oldest members of the group were put to death by hanging on January 5, 1955, and others were sentenced to various terms of imprisonment. Two defendants were acquitted. The trial created a ministerial crisis in Israel known as the "Lavon Affair." Defense Minister Pinhas Lavon (1904-1978) was forced to resign after he was accused of endangering the survival of the Egyptian Jewish community by allowing Egyptian Jews to participate in covert activities on behalf of the State.[14]

The trial of the thirteen confirmed to the western world the triumph of Gamal Abdel Nasser, whose strong reliance on the military, the police and the secret services was combined with a carefully staged manipulation of the Egyptian masses. The confrontation with the West came with the Suez War of 1956, when Nasser unilaterally nationalized the Suez Canal. Israeli, French and British forces seized the canal zone only to withdraw under pressure from the Soviet Union and the United States. Despite his military defeat, Nasser had won a political battle and gained the Suez Canal. In contrast to the situation in 1948 and 1952, there was no need to stage mob actions to vindicate the regime in the eyes of the Egyptian public. The Nasser regime was strong; few Egyptian Jews or Europeans had remained in the country to be molested.


The disappearance of the Egyptian Jewish community is the direct result of the Israeli-Arab conflict. The first step was the promulgation of discriminatory legislation. The most severe blow was the Company Law of July 29, 1947 requiring that 75% of the clerical work force of any company be Egyptian citizens. No civil rights could be guaranteed when the Mixed Tribunals ceased to function in October 1949. Most Egyptian Jews were left unprotected and had to rely on community welfare for their subsistence. They were increasingly eager to leave the country. Many imprisoned Jews were released only on the condition that they immediately leave the country. Discriminatory legislation, socio-economic disfranchisement and sheer violence convinced the Jews that there was no place for them in the Arab Republic of Egypt.

It is estimated that the Jewish population of Egypt was reduced by one third between May 1948 and January 1950. The remaining Jews were expelled after the 1956 War with only a few hundred left behind. Egyptian Jews relocated to Israel, France, Brazil, the United States, Argentina and England.[15]


1. This introduction is adapted from The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th Ed. (1985), article "Egypt."
2. Fargeon's tables, pp. 305-306, are the source used here and by Landau, p. 6 and Tignor, p. 333.
3. Tignor, p. 336; Landau, p. 24; AJYB, 53, p. 360.
4. Landau, p. 8; Tignor, p. 334, 338; Adler, p. 20.
5. Encyclopaedia Judaica, "Cattaui;" Fargeon, pp. 192-197; Annuaire, p. 248; Mizrahi, p. 41, 69.
6. Fargeon, pp. 191-192; Annuaire, pp. 158-176.
7. Jamie Lehmann Memorial Collection, Box 2, Correspondence "E," Carbon copy of a certificate signed by A. Jabes "secrétaire général" and S. Cicurel, president, dated Cairo, December 31, 1948; Correspondence with Alexandria, Box 4, "C," carbon copy of a letter sent to Rabbi M. Ventura in Alexandria, 1942, February 20. In 1942, the clerk was Jacques Peron and the "secrétaire de la taxe communale" was Maurice Fargeon, see Annuaire, p. 158, 281.
8. Fargeon, pp. 202-203; Cabasso, p. 215.
9. This passage is adapted from The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th Ed. (1985), article "Egypt."
10. Tignor, pp. 340-341; Kramer, p. 348, 357. On the ambivalence toward Zionism of Joseph Aslan Cattaui and Rabbi Nahum, cf. Tignor, p. 344-345; Kramer p. 358, 364; Mizrahi, p. 83.
11. American Jewish Year Book, 51 (1950) p. 415.
12. Report on a meeting in the United States with S. Cicurel held on October 28, 1948. Records of the American Jewish Committee, YIVO Archives, RG 347.7, FAD-2, Box 7, folder "Egyptian Project, 1948-49.
13. The best source for the history of Egyptian Jewry during the years 1946-1956 is the American Jewish Year Book. The reports were compiled by Helmut Lowenberg, magistrate in Tel Aviv - 1948, Mordechai Kosover, professor of classical languages at Brooklyn College-1951, Jacob Coleman Hurewitz, lecturer on Middle Eastern Politics at the School of International Affairs at Columbia University-1952, Sh. Yin'am (a pseudonym)-1953 and 1954, Walter Zeev Laqueur, then a political commentator for Kol Israel and Nakdimon Roguel, reporter at the news department of Kol Israel-1955 and 1956 and Don Peretz, researcher at the American Jewish Committee-1957.
14. American Jewish Year Book, 57 (1956), p. 514, which quotes the Jewish Chronicle as its source. One of the two sentenced to death was Dr. Moshe Marzouk, a 28 year old Karaite physician, whose family had been on familiar terms with Gamel Nasser. Nasser's former landlord in the Karaite neigborhood of Cairo intervened on Marzouk's behalf but Colonel Nasser refused to issue a pardon. Cf. Boruch K. Helman, "The Karaite Jews of Cairo," Hadassah Magazine, 60: 7, March 1979, p. 7 ff. Another activist, Robert Dassa, served fourteen years in prison and emigrated to Israel after his release in 1968. He returned to Egypt as an Israeli reporter during Prime Minister Menachem Begin's official visit in December 1977, and was able to see his sister who had married an Egyptian businessman. Cf. Irene A. Lurie and Gabriel Levenson "Return to Alexandria," Hadassah Magazine, 61:1, Aug.-Sept. 1979, pp. 4-ff.
On the Lavon Affair, see Encyclopaedia Judaica, vol. 10, col. 1477-1479.
15. Cohen, Hayyim J. "Egypt," Encyclopaedia Judaica, Vol. 6, col. 501

Scope and Contents

The Jamie Lehmann Memorial Collection consists of segments from the records of the Jewish community of Cairo. The collection contains account books, by-laws, case files, certificates, correspondence, legal documents, minutes, photographs and reports. The earliest document is a birth certificate, dated June 28, 1886 and the latest is a bill from the Italian hospital of December 1961. Most of the original documents were created between 1920 and 1960. French is the prevailing language, followed by Hebrew and Arabic.

The collection contains the records of three major institutions: the Sephardic Jewish Community, the Ashkenazi Community and the B'nai B'rith Lodges. Other organizations may have existed in Cairo during the inter-war period but little or no documentation has survived.

The records of the Sephardic Jewish Community are divided into five series:

Jewish Community Council
Chief Rabbinate
Administration of Synagogues
Administration of Jewish Schools
Welfare Agencies

The records of the Jewish Community Council contain proceedings of meetings and correspondence. The proceedings of the meetings of the Community Council are preserved for the period 1925 to 1934 (Box 1). In its meetings, the Council discussed all foreign or domestic, rabbinical or administrative issues of concern to the community. The correspondence (Box 2) covers the years 1926-1957, but what has remained is only the correspondence of secondary importance ("correspondances diverses"). The bulk of this correspondence dates from the decades following World War II. Two folders contain out-going letters for 1953, both from the Council and the Chief Rabbinate offices. Some unrelated forms and incomplete legal documents are also preserved in Boxes 2-3.

The records of the Chief Rabbinate for the 1940s and 1950s comprise the largest series (Boxes 3-7). The general correspondence covers the years 1941 to 1959 and contains many letters sent or received from Palestine under the British mandate (Box 3). The correspondence with Alexandria covers the years 1936 to 1946 and illustrates the rivalry between the two largest Jewish communities in Egypt (Box 4). A register lists out-going letters sent by the Chancellor and the Chief Rabbi of Cairo between March 1947 and December 1950. A description, albeit succinct, summarizes the contents of these letters.

Bound volumes and attestations of personal status have survived for 1936-1937 and 1947 (Boxes 5-7). Such volumes and files may have had much value for the individuals concerned but they have contain only limited information. The index cards or registers created by the clerical staff in Cairo have not survived and access to the files is now difficult.

Other agencies of the organized Sephardic Jewish community of Cairo, synagogue administration, schools and welfare are not as well documented.

Proceedings of the Administrative Committee supervising Cairo synagogues have survived for 1951-1955. Massive emigration of Egyptian Jews caused the work of the Committee to be more difficult. With the exception of insurance policies (1951-1958), no records of the schools are available. Reports and case files of Jewish community welfare agencies exist only for scattered years, mostly during the 1940s and 1950s. Bulky forms used by the Jewish hospital of Cairo are also intact for the years 1959 to 1961 (Box 9).

The records of the Ashkenazi Jewish community of Cairo do not contain the proceedings of a governing body, but the minutes of a commission administering the community hall (1933-1934), some ledgers (1953-55) and accounting records of the welfare society (1947 and 1950, Boxes 10-11).

The two lodges of the International Order of B'nai B'rith in Cairo, the Cairo Lodge and the Maimonides Lodge, have left substantial evidence of their activities in two registers: the minutes of the first meetings of the Cairo Lodge--the Sephardic lodge--in 1911 and 1912 and those of the Maimonides Lodge--the Ashkenazi Lodge--1924-1928. The information contained here is crucial for understanding the modernization of Egyptian Jewry which took place in the early decades of the twentieth century.

Yeshiva University Archivists wish to thank Mr. Albert Gabbai, previously of Cairo and now New York City, who provided a summary of the Arabic letters in the Collection.


The collection is arranged in the following eight series:

Index Terms

This collection has been indexed under the following terms:

Ben-Zvi, Itzhak, 1884-1963
Herzog, Isaac, 1888-1959
Nahoum, Haïm, 1872-1960
Ouziel, Ben-Zion Meir Hai, 1880-1953
Sharett, Moshe, 1894-1965
Ventura, Moshe
B'nai B'rith Lodge No. 687 (Cairo, Egypt)
B'nai B'rith Maimonides Lodge (Cairo, Egypt
Ba'al Ha-Nes Synagogue (Cairo, Egypt)
Commission for Jewish Conference Hall (Cairo, Egypt)
Italian Hospital (Cairo, Egypt)
Jewish Community of Cairo, Egypt - Commission for Religious Affairs, Synagogues, and Shehita
Jewish Community of Cairo, Egypt - Council
Jewish Community of Cairo, Egypt - Rabbinate
Oeuvre de bienfaisance de la communauté israélite de Cairé (Cairo, Egypt)
Société de bienfaisance israélite de communauté israélite de Cairé (Cairo, Egypt)
Ashkenazim -- Egypt -- Cairo
Benevolent societies -- Egypt -- Cairo
Charities -- Egypt -- Cairo
Friendly societies -- Egypt -- Cairo
Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)
Hospitals -- Egypt -- Cairo
Jews -- Charities
Jews -- Egypt
Jews -- Egypt -- Alexandria
Jews -- Egypt -- Cairo
Jews -- Ethiopia
Jews, Ethiopian
Religious institutions -- Egypt -- Alexandria
Religious institutions -- Egypt -- Cairo
Ritual slaughter
World War, 1939-1945
Alexandria (Egypt) -- Politics and government -- 20th century
Alexandria (Egypt) -- Religious life and customs
Alexandria (Egypt) -- Social life and customs -- 20th century
Cairo (Egypt) -- Politics and government -- 20th century
Cairo (Egypt) -- Religious life and customs
Cairo (Egypt) -- Social life and customs -- 20th century
Egypt -- Politics and government -- 20th century
Document Types:
Bylaws (administrative records)
Case Files
Ledgers (account books)
Legal documents
Other Names:
Shertok, Moshe, 1894-1965

Related Material

Related Manuscripts and Archival Collections at Yeshiva University:
Sephardic Reference Room, Jacob E. Safra Institute of Sephardic Studies

Other Related Manuscripts and Archival Collections:
Archives of the American Jewish Committee at YIVO Archives, New York
Archives of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, New York
Central Zionist Archives, Jerusalem
Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People, Jerusalem
Cairo Jewish Community, Cairo


Acquisition Information

The Jamie Lehmann Memorial Collection was donated to Yeshiva University Archives by Rabbi Dr. and Mrs. Manfred R. Lehmann on December 30, 1985, in memory of their son, Jamie (1950 - 1982).

Memorial Note to Jamie Lehmann


James Harald Lehmann, Jamie to his many friends, was a man of exceptional intellectual and professional abilities. At the time of his tragic death on June 5, 1982, at the age of 32, he was an associate with Cravath, Swaine & Moore, following a clerkship with Judge Jack Weinstein. Jamie had studied at yeshivot in America and Canada, Columbia University, Kings College Cambridge on a Kellett Fellowship and the Yale graduate department of comparative literature on a Danforth Fellowship.

Jamie's tastes and commitments transcended any single discipline. He was an observant Jew and dedicated Zionist with a keen interest in the Arab world and easy fluency with Arabic language and culture. He travelled the world eagerly and with enthusiasm. He was a connoisseur of music: classical, choral and folk. He was a deeply learned scholar and linguist who studied Talmud daily and published scholarly articles in fields as diverse as 14th century Spanish poetry and 19th century German intellectual history. The structures and application of American commercial law fascinated him, and to them as well he turned his quick penetrating intelligence.

Jamie's magnificent intellectual gifts were only one facet of his personality. Friends remember him as a kind and gentle man with a sense of humor and a warm smile. He was a caring friend and a devoted son, husband and brother. He was a man of character and depth whose advice was sought and whose opinions were pondered and heeded. His convictions and ethical conduct inspired well deserved respect.

It is to the memory of Jamie Lehmann that this inventory is dedicated.

*adapted from Yale Law Report Fall-Winter 1982-1983, pp. 98-99

Sources Consulted


HELMAN, Boruch K. Surviving Archives of the Cairo Jewish Community. An Evaluative Survey. [Place?], 1985. 15 p.


ABU-LUGHOD, Janet. Cairo. 1001 Years of the City Victorious. Princeton, NJ, 1971

ADLER, Elkan Nathan. Jews in Many Lands. London, 1905.

AMERICAN JEWISH COMMITTEE. A Report on the Jewish Situation in Egypt. New York, 1949

--vol. 40 (1938-39), pp. 332-333
--vol. 42 (1940-41), pp. 441-445
--vol. 50 (1948-49), pp. 442-445 (Helmut Lowenberg)
--vol. 51 (1950), pp. 415-417
--vol. 52 (1951), pp. 407-408 (Mordechai Kosover)
--vol. 53 (1952), pp. 357-361 (Jacob Coleman Hurewitz)
--vol. 54 (1953), pp. 459-461 (Sh. Yin'am)
--vol. 55 (1954), pp. 364-365 (Sh. Yin'am)
--vol. 56 (1955), pp. 489-491 (Walter Zeev Laqueur & Nakdimon Roguel)
--vol. 57 (1956), pp. 513-517 (Walter Zeev Laqueur & Nakdimon Roguel)
--vol. 58 (1957), pp. 398-403 (Don Peretz)
--vol. 59 (1958), pp. 395-398 (Don Peretz)

Annuaire des Juifs d'Egypte et du Proche Orient. [Cairo, 1942]

CABASSO, Gilbert et alii. Juifs d'Egypte: images et textes. [Paris, c. 1984]

CAIRO, Egypt. Ben Ezra Synagogue. Short Note about the Oldest Synagogue in Egypt.... Old Cairo, [195-]

CAIRO, Egypt. Communaute Israélite. Comité scolaire. Rapport...1913. Cairo, 1914

CAIRO, Egypt. Societe israélite Aschkenasi "Gemilot Hesed". Cairo, 1908

ELON, Amos. Flight into Egypt. Garden City, NY, 1980

FARGEON, Maurice. Les Juifs en Egypte, depuis les origines jusqu'à ce jour. Cairo, 1938

FREID, Jacob (editor). Jews in the Modern World. New York, 1962, pp. 50-90

HASSOUN, Jacques (editor). Juifs du Nil. Paris, 1981

LANDAU, Jacob M. Jews in Nineteenth Century Egypt. New York, 1969

LANDAU, Jacob M. Middle Eastern Themes: Papers in History and Politics. London, 1973 (pp. 157-171, "The Beginnings of Modernization in Education: The Jewish Community in Egypt as a Case Study")

L'Illustration juive. Alexandrie, 1929 - 1931

MACCABI, Rahel. Mitzrayim sheli. Tel Aviv, 1968

MIZRAHI, Maurice. L'Egypte et ses Juifs: le temps révolu (19e et 20e siècle). Lausanne, 1977

SAMUEL, Sydney Montagu. Jewish Life in the East. London, 1881

YAHUDIYA MASRIYA [Pseud. of?]. Les Juifs en Egypte. Geneva, 1971


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--"Cattaui," Encyclopaedia Judaica, Vol. 5, col. 255-256. Jerusalem, 1976

--"Egypt," Encyclopaedia Judaica, Vol. 6, col. 498-503. Jerusalem, 1976

THE NEW ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA, 15 ed. (1985), article "Egypt"

HELMAN, Boruch K. "The Karaite Jews of Cairo," Hadassah Magazine, 60: 7, March 1979, pp. 4-9

KIRSHNER, Sheldon. "Diary of Egyptian and Syrian Jewry," Midstream 22:11, Nov. 1976, pp. 23-32

KLEINLERER, Davide. "Cairo," Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, pp. 627-62. New York, ca. 1939-1943

-- "Cattaui," Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, pp. 67-68

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KRAMER, Gundrun. "Zionism in Egypt, 1917-1948." in COHEN, Amnon and BAER, Gabriel (editors). Egypt and Palestine: a Millennium of Association (1868-1948). Jerusalem, 1984, pp. 348-366

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Proceedings of the meetings of the Council of the Jewish Community of Cairo, 1926, January 11, Box 1, Jamie Lehmann Memorial Collection, Yeshiva University Archives, New York, N.Y.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series I: Records of the Jewish Community Council (Conseil de la Communauté), 1919-1957. Boxes 1-3

Series Description: The records of the Jewish Community Council contain proceedings of meetings and correspondence. The proceedings of the meetings of the Community Council are preserved for the period 1925 to 1934 (Box 1). In its meetings, the Council discussed all foreign or domestic, rabbinical or administrative issues of concern to the community. The correspondence (Box 2) covers the years 1926-1957, but what has remained is only the correspondence of secondary importance ("correspondances diverses"). The bulk of this correspondence dates from the decades following World War II. Two folders contain out-going letters for 1953, both from the Council and the Chief Rabbinate offices. Some unrelated forms and incomplete legal documents are also preserved in Boxes 2-3.
Subseries A: Proceedings of Meetings, 1925 - 1934
Arrangement: Arranged chronologically
Series Description:: The meetings cover the early years of an elected Community Council under the leadership of Joseph Aslan Cattaui. The Council, presided over by Joseph Cattaui, met three or four times a month in the winter and once or twice a month during the summer. Each of the proceedings includes date, names of participants, and topics discussed preceeded by a caption and the agenda for the next scheduled meeting.

The issues raised at meetings were varied, touching on all aspects of community life. Balancing the budget was a major concern, addressed through the management of community properties, taxes, or when necessary, reduction of rabbinical or administrative staff. The meetings also reflect the interaction between the Jewish community and the Egyptian government, especially when new legislation was debated. Reactions to events which took place within the community and outside of it were noted.

The proceedings are in French, typed on unbound pages. It is likely that they had also been transcribed in a bound volume, because most proceedings bear the notation "transcrit" [= transcribed] or copié [= copied] on the upper right. They were edited for style and words of praise for Cattaui were erased.

During most of December 1925, the Council revised the statutes of the community
2 1926
At the first meeting in January, the Council reviewed the community's finances. Funds from slaughtering ("Gabelle") and from synagogues remained uncollected, properties were not repaired, and the cemeteries unguarded. The Council reorganized the Rabbinical Courts (January 11). The Council hoped to increase the community's income with a lottery; Cattaui had to get approval from the Egyptian prime minister. The Concil also opened an account at the Chancellerie to raise funds on behalf of Jews in Syria ("au profit des sinistrés des évênements de Syrie," February 15). The Council acknowledged with sympathy the formation of a Zionist organization in Alexandria (March 15). Chief Rabbi Soliman Bebel was asked to inquire about an employee who allegedly shared information with enemies of the Jewish community (March 22). The "cours secondaire" (High School Program) had to be discontinued (June 7). A wall built by Lieto Hami on the grounds of the Jewish cemetery of Bassatine was torn down (October 4) and Chief Rabbi Haim Nahum received a visit by a Moawen sent by the Cairo government relating to this incident (November 8).
Joseph Cattaui spoke at the Council meeting on March 7, delivering the eulogy for Salomon Cicurel, who had been stabbed. Private competition reduced the income from the community's bakery (April 11). The Jewish community was represented by Chief Rabbi Haim Nahum at the celebrations in honor of poet Chawky Bey (May 2). It was decided that the community needed a new school which would cost 28,000 Egyptian Pounds (hereafter EP, June 8). The Cairo Jewish community will contribute 50 EP to a Muslim fundraising effort on behalf of needy families after an earthquake in Palestine (July 24).
The Council was joined by members of a special commission, appointed at the request of the Egyptian government, to review the personal status ("status personnel") of members of the various religious communities in Egypt (January 16). When approached by the Jewish community of Rhodes to contribute to the creation of a rabbinical seminary on the island, the Council declined to participate. Cairo Chief Rabbi Haim Nahum considered that "the best place for such an institution can only be Jerusalem, especially since this city now has a University" (January 23). Marcelle Nahum, daughter of Chief Rabbi Haim Nahum, will not have to pay marriage taxes (April 23). The Jewish maternity ward was closed for lack of funds, and its endowment was transferred to the hospital (May 14). Buildings owned by the community spent 600-700 EP yearly in repairs (May 28). A fundraising effort on behalf of the Jewish community of Philippopolis [Plovdiv], Bulgaria, brought 113 EP (August 14). Rabbi Raphael Aaron Bensimon, former Chief Rabbi of Cairo, died in Tel Aviv on October 24 (November 5). Salvator Abravanel resigned from his positions of General Secretary, Chairman of the Commission on Cemetery and Council Member, because he moved to Paris (November 19).
The synagogue of Ismailieh (Chaar Hachamayim) should be expanded because it was overcrowded with worshipers during services. Members of the seven commissions were reelected for the following commissions: Community Taxes (Arikha); Rabbinat, Chancellerie, Rabbinical Tribunal and Gabelle (consumption taxes on Kosher meats); Synagogues; Cemeteries; Wakfs (buildings); Welfare, Kosher Bakery, and Mohar Habbetoulot (dowries for poor brides, April 1). A commission was appointed to supervise a reform of ritual slaughtering (April 8-15). Chief Rabbi Nahum went to Europe seeking medical treatment for his eyes. Rabbi Jacob Toledano, Judge in Tangiers, was appointed to replace Rabbi Hanania as Av Bet Din (Chief Rabbi Substitute, May 13). Chief Rabbi Nahum visited the counsul of France to protest against conversions of Jewish girls in Catholic schools. Poor quality of Kosher meat, discouraging wealthy consumers from buying, created a loss of income for the community (November 18). There were 1, 149 pupils in five Jewish schools in 1929 (November 25).
6 1930
The Chancellor wrote to the Vaad Leumi in Palestine about funds collected on behalf of Palestinian Jews (April 28). The minimum community tax contribution (Arikha), required for voting and for the right to be elected to Jewish community office, was 1 EP (November 24). President Cattaui wrote to several Arabic and French newspapers denouncing an appeal signed by lawyer Maurice Fargeon, president of the Union of Free Jews (December 8).
7 1931
The Council organized a visit to the new school buildings at Abbassieh for Jewish lawyers in order to involve them in community affairs (January 5). Rabbinical courts in Cairo were given jurisdiction over Polish Jews from the Polish vice-consul in this city (January 19). The meeting of February 16 was devoted mostly to cutting expenses: one rabbinical judge was to be dismissed, clerical salaries were reduced (February 16) and taxes on weddings and notarial fees increased (February 23). Cattaui voiced his exasperation against the members of the B'nai B'rith who disrupted the general meeting of the community on March 22; the Council threatened to resign (March 23). The Chief Rabbi of France was contacted to represent the Cairo Jewish community at the Vienna Conference on the reform of the calendar (April 14). Chief Rabbi Nahum addressed many issues at the April 27 meeting: he proposed a reform of the marriage contract used in Cairo, asked for funds to support a young Falasha to be instructed in a Cairo Jewish school, and protested against a defamatory article on the Chief Rabbi of Alexandria in the Jewish newspaper L'Aurore (April 27). Chief Rabbi Nahum was elected to the Egyptian Senate. 7,500 EP were borrowed to be used for Jewish schools. Pressures were exerted on cattle dealers to pay taxes (June 15 and July 1). In July 1928, the Council discussed a revised policy on the personal status of non-Muslims which was forwarded to it by the Egyptian Justice Minister. The tax on weddings did not bring in sufficient income because the dowries were underestimated by the brides and grooms (December 21).
Youth group meetings in the synagogues were considered inappropriate by the Council. Synagogues should be used exclusively as places of worship (April 11). Jewish tombstones have been desecrated (April 18). Cattle dealers agreed to pay taxes (May 17). Rabbi Jacob Toledano was authorized to lead a memorial service in honor of Theodore Herzl, but did not represent the Council in this function (July 21). The Council decided on new taxes for poultry (August 9). A slaughterer from Yemen worked in Benha without the authorization of the Bet Din (August 22).
The Jewish community of Alexandria offered Rabbi Jacob Toledano a better salary and the Council suggested that he come every two weeks to sit in the Cairo rabbinical court (February 27). A producer of unleavened bread was accused of having spread unfair accusations against the administrators of the Kosher bakery. The president of the Cairo lodge of B'nai B'rith approached the Council about creating a league against anti-Semitism in Germany (March 21). Conditions of Jewish life in Germany were the first topic on the agenda of the next three meetings (April 19, 25 and May 9). The Council discussed its assocation with the World Jewish Congress (June 20). Tension persisted between the League against Anti-Semitism and the Council (November 14).
10 1934
Proceedings of the general meeting of the Jewish community of Cairo. There were 8,000 Jewish pupils in Cairo, 54% in Jewish schools, 24% in secular and 22% in Catholic Schools (March 25).
Subseries B: Reports, 1954
111 Communauté israélite du Caire. Assemblée général ordinaire. Mars 1954. (Annual Report of the General Assembly of the Cairo Jewish Community), [1954]
Printed in Cairo, French and Arabic, [42] p.
The report provides information on the activities of the Chancellor, the incomes from the Arikha (community tax), synagogues, properties, ritual slaughtering, Kosher bakery; expenses for dowries, schools and other welfare agencies.
Subseries C: Correspondence, 1926 - 1957
General Correspondence, April 1, 1926 - June, 1957
Series Description: The general correspondence deals with administrative matters of secondary importance. Many letters and documents deal with the closing of the Abraham Btesh School in 1957 (1926-1957) and the Jewish communities of Port-Said and Tantah (1950).

The general correspondence contains letters sent to the President of the Jewish community of Cairo and the Chief Rabbi of Cairo, and copies of their replies; the same secretarial staff served both the Community Council and the Chief Rabbinate and kept one file for both sets of correspondence. Some letters received by the Chief Rabbi, however, are stamped "G.R.C." [= Grand Rabbinat du Caire] with an entry number and an entry for the date the answer was sent out.

The letters are written in French, Arabic or English. The correspondence was kept in French. Letters in Arabic are translated into French and copies of letters sent to Egyptian authorities are often in both French and Arabic. Letters are typed on unbound pages. All pages have two holes on the left side, because they were kept in a loose leaf binder. "Correspondances diverses, 1946-1948-1949" appears on the spine of the binder.

Arrangement: Arranged alphabetically by name of correspondent
21 A - B
Request for a pension presented by Rabbi Azar Saad Hay to Rabbi Nahum (no date). Report of the benevolent society of the Cairo lodge of B'nai B'rith, 1918.
2 C - F
Letter of M. Soloveitchick, Department of Education of the Vaad Leumi, to René Cattaouri [sic], thanking him for Arabic teaching materials (1946, July 23). Correspondence with the Cattaui family regarding repairs to the family mausoleum (1949, March). Report of Selim Chalom and Gabriel Echkinasy, comptrollers ("censeurs") dated 1947, March 5. Correspondence with Lodge Deborah (Union des Dames Deborah), on finances and membership of association (1946, April - 1949, January).
3E - G
Estimate for School Cattaui-Suares (1947). Correspondence in Arabic with Cairo Government regarding property taxes and other matters (1949). List of rabbis and employees of the Chancellerie, with their nationality (no date), including Rabbi Ovadia Yusef of Palestine. The Cairo rabbinate was composed of three Egyptians, two Palestinians, and two Russians.
4 H - J
Correspondence regarding the Jewish community of Heliopolis and the Abraham Btesh school and its personnel; many documents deal with its closing in 1957 (1926-1957).
5K - M
6 N - P
Correspondence with the Jewish community of Port-Said regarding unleavened bread (1950). Solicitations of various Egyptian philanthropies in Arabic (1949-1950s). Correspondence with Raphael Pinto, from Oran (Algeria), requesting Egyptian partners for trade in olive oil (1949).
7 R - Z
Report of the Association egyptienne des amis des etudes hebraiques (1944). Correspondence with the Jewish community of Tantah (1950).
Copies of Outgoing Letters, 1953
Series Description: The correspondence for 1953 contains letters sent by the Chief Rabbi of Cairo, the President of the Jewish Community Council and their staff. A larger number of letters were signed by the Chief Rabbi than by the President, since Rabbi Nahum acted as the Community representative for most issues.

Personal matters, such as deeds of marriage and divorce and financial concerns were among the most frequent topics addressed. The Jewish community of Cairo maintained a steady correspondence with the Chancellor of the Jewish community of Alexandria.

The letters are written in French, Arabic or Hebrew. Letters are typed on unbound pages and are numbered from #23 to 433. All pages have two holes on the left side, because they were kept in a loose leaf binder. "Lettres expediées" appears on the cover of the folder. Some letters are in poor condition.

Arrangement: Arranged chronologically
28 January-June, 1953
Copy of a Hebrew letter to Rabbi Boaz Cohen, Chairman of the Beth Din of the Rabbinical Assembly of America, regarding an improper deed of divorce (#53/25). Correspondence sent to various individuals and organizations in March 1953 on the measures taken following the fire at the Jewish bakery (#105-117). Letter of the presidents of the Jewish communities of Cairo and Alexandria to the Governor of the National Bank of Egypt requesting that the Jewish holidays continue to be observed as legal banking holidays (#157, April 25). Letter of S. Sicurel sending 100 EP to Ahmed Roushdi, lawyer retained after the fire at the schools on January 26 (#180, May 8). The Jewish Community Council and the Chief Rabbi office have moved to 13 Sebil El Khazendar, in Abbassiya. Letter of Abraham Choueka, deputy of the Chief Rabbi, to Clement Nahmias, of Alexandria, informing him of the activities of the Chief Rabbi on behalf of Jews without citizenship (#15, May 27).
9 July-December, 1953
Letter of J. [?] Farhi, vice-president, to the Greek ambassador in Cairo, remitting 100 EP to be transferred to the Jewish community of Cephalonia in need after a severe earthquake (#291, August 20). Telegram of the Chief Rabbi to the Jewish community of Larnaca (Cyprus), requesting a few etrogim to be used in the synagogues of Cairo over Sukkhot (#334, September 9).
Subseries D: Passports, 1919
Series Description: These forms were completed in Arabic. Some contain photographs of individuals or families. They give the name, age and date of birth, place of birth, father's citizenship, father's profession, date of arrival in Egypt and length of stay, profession, address, length of stay in Egypt, previous country of residence, place of destination and reason for travel. Two witnesses were to sign these forms. Four holes on the left side of each page indicate that the forms were probably kept in a loose leaf binder. Part of the form was detached along the indentations on the right.
Arrangement: Arranged chronologically
210Passports, 1919
Series E: Legal Proceedings, undated, 1929-1935
Series Description: Unbound typed pages, in French; incomplete
31Legal Proceedings
Francis Henein versus Edouard Barazin, regarding repayment of a debt with a sale of buildings in Cairo.

Series II: Records of the Chief Rabbinate, 1886, 1936-1959. Boxes 3-7 and Oversized Box

Series Description: The records of the Chief Rabbinate for the 1940s and 1950s comprise the largest series (Boxes 3-7). The general correspondence covers the years 1941 to 1959 and contains many letters sent or received from Palestine under the British mandate (Box 3). The correspondence with Alexandria covers the years 1936 to 1946 and illustrates the rivalry between the two largest Jewish communities in Egypt (Box 4). A register lists out-going letters sent by the Chancellor and the Chief Rabbi of Cairo between March 1947 and December 1950. A description, albeit succinct, summarizes the contents of these letters.

Bound volumes and attestations of personal status have survived for 1936-1937 and 1947 (Boxes 5-7). Such volumes and files may have had much value for the individuals concerned but they have contain only limited information. The index cards or registers created by the clerical staff in Cairo have not survived and access to the files is now difficult.

Subseries A: General Correspondence, 1941 - 1959
Series Description: The general correspondence of Chief Rabbi Haim Nahum contains letters received and copies of letters sent by the Chief Rabbi of Cairo. A large part of the correspondence deals with Palestinian Jewry regarding political, cultural, and religious issues, such as questions of personal status or assistance to war prisoners.

Correspondents of Rabbi Nahum were: Izhak Ben-Zvi, president of the Vaad Leumi; Rabbi Meir Berlin of the Mizrachi organization in Jerusalem; Rabbi Judah Leib Fishman [Maimon], Rabbis Isaac Herzog and Ben Zion Ouziel, Chief Rabbis of Palestine; Rabbi David Prato of Jaffa and Tel-Aviv; and Moshe Shertok of the Jewish Agency. The correspondence contains a petition by the Chief Rabbis of Palestine, Herzog and Ouziel, requesting that Rabbi Nahum intervene in favor of the murderers of Lord Moyne (1945, January 26) and a printed marriage contract from Alexandria, signed by Rabbi Moses Ventura [1946].

The letters are written in Hebrew, French, or Arabic. All pages have two holes on the left side indicating they were kept in a loose leaf binder. Most letters received by the Chief Rabbi are stamped "G.R.C." [= Grand Rabbinat du Caire] with an entry number and an entry for the date the answer was mailed. Many letters are also marked "D/Pal." [= Dossier Palestine], followed by a letter. The present arrangement is probably not the original order.

Arrangement: Arranged alphabetically by topic.
32List of subject headings, established by Rabbi Boruch K. Helman.
3 A - B
Correspondence with the Beirut school of the Alliance Israelite Universelle, regarding the shipment of 200 copies of a school text book written by Rabbi Moses Ventura (1950). Hebrew letter sent by Izhak Ben-Zvi, president of the Vaad Leumi, regarding a celebration of the thousand year anniversary of the death of Saadia Gaon (1942, May 13). Copy of a letter sent by the deputy of the Chief Rabbi to Rabbi David Prato of Jaffa-Tel Aviv, regarding the situation of Libyan refugees in Cairo (1942, February 20). Hebrew letter of Rabbi Meir Berlin, Mizrachi Organization in Jerusalem, after anti-Jewish riots (1945, November).
4 Charities in Eretz Israel
Appeal of the Committee for Refugee Rabbis-Ezrath Torah (1945, December 16). Appeals of the Mifal Maot Hitin, signed by Rabbi M.A. Amiel, Jacob Moshe Toledano and David Prato of Tel Aviv (1940s). Appeal of Jacob Zrehn of Tiberias, on behalf of the Colelout Rabbi Meir Baal Haness (1940s). Appeals of the Council of the Sephardic Community in Jerusalem, signed by Rabbi Ouziel (1940s).
5 C - E
Copy of a letter thanking Maurice Curiel who gave 50 EP to help rebuild properties destroyed by the blast on June 20, 1948 (1948, July). Letter of Dr. Lewis Bato of Tel Aviv, regarding the situation of Falasha Jews (1943, December 22).
6 Family Questions (1)
Most of the correspondence regarding these matters is with the Chief Rabbinate of Jaffa and Tel Aviv District. Printed marriage contract [Ketubbah] from Alexandria, signed by Rabbi Moses Ventura [1946].
7 Family Questions (2)
Correspondence with Palestinian rabbinate regarding divorce of Italian Jews (1942).
8F - I
Letters from Rabbi Judah Leib Fishman [Maimon] regarding various publications (1942-1943). Letter of Moshe Shertok of the Jewish Agency to Rabbi Nahum, regarding the enlistment of Greek Jews in the British army (1943, November 15). Correspondence with Rabbi Isaac Herzog regarding immigration of Rabbis to Egypt, fundraising on behalf of the Relief Committee for Refugee Rabbis by Rabbi [?] Gartenhaus, flour for unleavened bread in war time and the publication Otzar Haposkim (1941, January-1945, June). Letter signed by Rabbis Herzog and Ouziel requesting Rabbi Nahum's intervention on behalf of Eliahu Hakim and Eliahu Bet Zuri, murderers of Lord Moyne, British Minister of State for the Middle East (1945, January). Correspondence with Rabbis Herzog and Ouziel regarding a fast day for the Jews in Europe (1942, 1943, 1945).
9 J - O
Letter (in poor condition) of M[?] Simon of the Jewish Agency to Rabbi Nahum, regarding the transportation of 200 orphans to Palestine (1945, April). Draft and copy of a letter (in poor condition) sent by the Jewish Community Council of Cairo to the representative of the Jewish Agency in Cairo, complaining about the activities of the organization [Ha-]Ivri Atzair in Egypt (no date). Letters of Judah Magnes on behalf of the Hebrew University (1943). Letter of the Chief Rabbinate of Jaffa and Tel Aviv District warning Rabbi Nahum about a missionary (1941, September). Correspondence with Rabbi Ben Zion Ouziel on the hiring of rabbinical judges, war prisoners, family matters and importing of moving pictures to Palestine (1941, September-1946, June). Letter of Rabbi Ouziel to Rene Cattaui, soliciting funds for the building of a Great Synagogue in Jerusalem (1943, August 1).
10 P - Z
Letter of A[?] Dokin of the Jewish Agency, to Rabbi Nahum, regarding a visit of the Apostolic Delegation in Cairo (1943, July 27). Copy of a letter and telegrams sent to Moshe Shertok of the Jewish Agency regarding the enlistment of Greek Jews in the British army (1943, July-September). Correspondence with the Jewish community of Tantah (1947, April-1949, November). Correspondence with Rabbi Jacob Moshe Toledano of Tel Aviv (1942, January-1945, February).
Subseries B: Correspondence with Alexandria, 1936 - 1946. Box 4
Series Description: Consists of correspondence of Rabbi Haim Nahum, Chief Rabbi of Cairo, with the Jewish Community and Chief Rabbi of Alexandria.

The correspondence with Alexandria contains letters received from Jewish officials in Alexandria, Rabbi Moses Ventura and copies of letters sent by the Chief Rabbi of Cairo and his staff during the years 1942-1946. A letter from David Prato, Chief Rabbi of Alexandria, regarding anti-Semitic legislation in Poland is dated 1936.

Personal matters, mostly deeds of marriage and divorce, are the topics frequently addressed in this correspondence. Other topics included are reactions to anti-Semitism in Europe, emergency evacuation, status of foreign Jews, procurement of wheat during the war and Zionism.

The letters are written in French, Hebrew and Arabic. All pages have two holes on the left side, indicating that they were kept in a loose leaf binder. Most letters received by the Chief Rabbi are stamped "G.R.C." [= Grand Rabbinat du Caire] with an entry number and an entry for the date the answer was mailed. Some letters are in poor condition.

Arrangement: Arranged alphabetically by name of correspondent and topics
41 A - B
Copy of a letter sent by the Chancellor of the Jewish community in Cairo to his counterpart in Alexandria announcing receipt of a telegram from Chief Rabbis Ouziel and Herzog of Palestine, proclaiming a day of prayer for Diaspora Jews (1944, March 19). Copy of a letter sent by the Chancellor of Cairo to his counterpart in Alexandria, informing him that the British military authorities required a religious certificate from Jewish volunteers (1943, May 6). List of butchers in Alexandria (1945).
2 C - D
Letter of Edwin N. Goar, Vice-President of the Jewish community of Alexandria, to Rabbi Nahum, regarding the extension of Alexandria's Jewish cemetery (1942, October 7). Letter of David Prato, Chief Rabbi of Alexandria, to Rabbi Nahum, suggesting common action against legislation in Poland to ban ritual slaughtering (1936, February 19).
3 E - G
Copy of letter sent by the Chancellor in Cairo regarding evacuation of Egyptian Jews to Abyssinia (1942, July 20). Letter sent by the Secretary-Chancellor of Alexandria to Zaki Hakim, Chancellor of Cairo, regarding Jewish inmates from Greece to be repatriated (1945, March 15).
4 H - M
Hebrew letter from Rabbi Moses Ventura to Chief Rabbi Nahum, requesting his intervention to increase the rations for cooking oil granted to Egyptian Jews (1943, November 8).
5 N - S
Letter of the Vice-President of the Jewish community of Alexandria to the President of the Jewish community of Cairo informing him that he asked Jacques Rabin, the editor of La Tribune Juive, to moderate his views (1946, January 9). Copy of a letter sent by Chief Rabbi Nahum to Robert Rolo, President of the Jewish community of Alexandria, regarding anti-Zionist articles in Misr El Fatat (1946, January 4). Correspondence between the chancellors of Cairo and Alexandria regarding Jews in the Italian Internees Camp in Fayed (1943, July-1944, March). Correspondence between Alexandria and Cairo regarding Jewish persecution in Europe and French North Africa (1943, January). Briefing papers regarding the rebuilding of the Azzouz synagogue (1940, April 16). Copy of a letter from Chief Rabbi Nahum to R. Rolo, regarding visas for Palestinian Jews and status of German Jews in Egypt (1942, May 26). Draft of an appeal to Egyptian Jews to sponsor publication of the writings of Saadia Gaon by Mosad Rav Kook (1943, January 20).
6 T - Z
Correspondence between the Chancellor in Cairo to his counterpart in Alexandria regarding meat prices (1942, August).
Subseries C: Register of Outgoing Letters, March, 1947-December, 1950. Box 5, Folder 1
Arrangement: Arranged chronologically
Series Description: This register contains a summary in French of the letters sent by the Chief Rabbinate of Cairo between 1947 and 1950. A large part of the correspondence deals with political issues, such as anti-Semitism, emigration, Jewish political detainess. Other issues addressed are of a religious or cultural nature, such as appointments to the Rabbinical court of Cairo or conversion to or from Karaism.

Correspondents of the Chief Rabbi of Cairo include Judah Magnes of the Hebrew University, the Chief Rabbinate of Baghdad, Egyptian Cabinet members including the Prime Minister as well as officials in Cairo and rabbis in Palestine.

Each entry contains the registration number, the date, the name and city of the correspondent, a summary of the contents of the letter and a filing notation. Entries were first numbered in a sequence from #2136 to 3899. Entries for 1950 are numbered from 1/50 to 339/50.

The volume is bound, 9"1/4 x 13"3/4, without pagination. Its cover page is damaged. "Enregistrement letters expédiées, Nos. 2136-3899 et 1/50 a 339/50, du 20/3/47 au 15/12/50, Expedition," appears on the title page. It is in overall poor condition.

Below is a summary of the key items recorded for each year:

1947Rabbi Nahum regretted that he could not attend the Requiem Mass in honor of King George II of Greece (#2181, April 7). Rabbi Ovadia Yossef of Jerusalem was invited to sit in the Rabbinical Court (#2192, April 16). Rabbi Shlomo Kassin of Tel Aviv was also invited to be part of the Court (#2215, April 22). A letter informed the Sayeda Zeinab police precint of the absence of Rabbi Nahum from his residence and asked him to protect it (#2431 & 2440, July 27 and August 8). The Chancellor asked a refugee in El Shaat camp if he was registered to emigrate to America (#2487, September 2). The Chief Rabbi of Cairo sent to Dr. Magnes of the Hebrew University, a copy of the Egyptian government's reply to his offer to send Palestinian doctors to fight cholera (#2560, October 3). The Karaite community of Cairo was consulted on the scholarship in the schools and on the Bassatine cemetery (#2617, November 3). The Interior Minister was informed that Rabbi Moses Ventura of Alexandria had resigned (#2740, December 31).
1948Letters were sent to Maurice Curiel and Henri Kritchewsky of Cairo, thanking them for their contribution covering the deficit of the Midrash Eliahou of Garden City (#2819-2820, January 29). The Chief Rabbi wrote to Mansour Bey, General Procurer in Cairo, to inform him of an article on synagogues in the Muslim Brothers newspaper (#2915, March 7). The Chief Rabbinate of Cairo requested on March 22 that the Chief Rabbinate in Baghdad provide it with fifty pairs of tefilin. Request repeated on May 9 and August 10 (#2958, 3078, 3089, and 3194). The Chief Rabbi informed the Interior Minister that the pilgrimage to the synagogue al Ostaz al Amshati in al Mahalla al Kubra would take place on May 7-9 (#3029, April 18). The Chief Rabbi informed his colleague in Alexandria about the wellbeing of three individuals from Alexandria after the riots of June 20 (#3130, June 7). A letter was sent to Nuqrashi Pacha, Prime Minister, asking him to protect Egyptian Jews who were in danger according to public rumor and newspaper reports (#3148, July 7). On July 19, the Chief Rabbi complained to the Interior Minister about repeated attacks against Jews (#3162). A certificate was delivered to Abramino Ezri stating that he was Chancellor between March 1925 and May 1942 (#3328A, November 5).
1949A letter was sent to the Chief of the Arab Bureau in Cairo requesting permission for detainess in El Tor to receive letters and money from their families (#3460 and 3473, February 7 and 17). A Karaite woman of Cairo wished to convert to mainstream Judaism (#3506A, March 14). Letter was sent by the Administrative Council of the Jewish community of Cairo to Chief Rabbi Nahum informing him that the resignation of Rabbi Ovadia had been accepted (#3808A, November 2). Letters were sent to Chief Rabbi Eisenbeth of Algiers and to the Chief Rabbinate of Istanbul requesting candidates for the Rabbinical Courts of Cairo and Alexandria (#3820 and 3878, November 11 and December 18).
Subseries D: Records of the Chancellerie
Register of Deeds, September, 1944 - March, 1946. Oversized Box
Series Description: Most deeds are certificates of birth, marriage or death, or affidavits, all written in Arabic. Each entry lists the cost, sequential number, date, name of the person involved both in Arabic and French, and observation on the deed.

The volume is bound, 15"3/4 × 11"1/2 (oversized); its pages are numbered 1211 to 1510.

Register of Letters sent in Cairo, December, 1943 - April, 1945. Box 5, Folder 2
Series Description: This register contains signatures for hand-delivery of letters within Cairo between 1943 and 1945.

The names of consuls of Western democracies in Cairo, presidents of Jewish welfare agencies and bankers appear frequently. Among other names mentioned, are those of Rene' Cattaui, Maitre Clement Harari, Max Kantzer or Kuntzler, M. Roditi and Maitre Vita Sonsino. No information is given on the content of the letters sent. Each invoice gives the date, a sequential number, the name and address of the correspondent and a signature in Arabic, French or English.

The volume is bound, 11"1/4 × 8," without pagination. The cover page is damaged and it is in overall poor condition.

Arrangement: Arranged chronogically
Attestation of Personal Status, 1936 - 1937. Box 5, Folder 5
Series Description: Each entry in French includes name of person, number, date and statement of purpose. The most frequent purposes for certificates were birth, celibacy, betrothal, marriage (also called Ketoubba), divorce, widowhood and death, notarization of judicial sentences and passport.

The index register is bound, 11" × 7"1/2, without pagination. "Tome II A 6, du 3 aout 1936 au 5 juillet 1937," on the cover.

Arrangement: Arranged alphabetically
Attestation of Personal Status, 1886; 1947
Series Description: The attestations of personal status, from the Chancellor of the Chief Rabbi of Cairo, were prepared to attest birth, celibacy, indigence, marriage, divorce and death, or to translate marriage contracts. The Certificates are in Arabic, French or English. They are carbon copies and some are cancelled originals of various sizes. Most copies have two numbers written in pencil; one number is the registration of the deed, the second is the number of the receipt for payment of the deed.
Arrangement: Arranged chronologically
56 1947, July
Copy of two leasing contracts of the cemetery of Bassatine, dated 1935, December 12, and 1937, February 15. Copied 1947, July 31.
7 1947, August
Birth certificate in German of the Ashkenaz Jewish community of Cairo, dated 1886, June 28.
8 1947, September
9 1947, October
61 1947, November (1)
2 1947, November (2)
3 1947, November (3)
4 1947, December (1)
5 1947, December (2)
6 1947, December (3)
7 1947, December (4)
Several certificates are copied on the back of requests for funerals ("commande pour funerailles").
8 1947, December (5)
Accounting Documents of the Chancellerie, 1946. Box 5, Folder 3
Series Description: All pages have two holes on the left side, indicating that they were kept in a loose leaf binder. Pages are numbered #1353 to 1159. "Documents comptables, Mois de juin 1946," was written on the cover.

Salaries for four rabbis (Rabbis Nahum, "Ribbi" Nessim Ohanna, Joseph Hassoun, and I. Chayoff), the staffs of the Rabbinat and the Arikha. Hebrew list of ritual slaughterers who slaughtered for Shavuot in Cairo, with their signatures.

Arrangement: Arranged in reverse chronological order
Ledger of the Jewish Community of Cairo, 1949 - 1950. Box 5, Folder 4
Series Description: The ledger contains accounts kept in French, of individuals, associations and schools in Cairo.

The volume is bound, 12" × 8," with 98 leaves. "Grand Livre," was written on the cover.

Five Booklets of Identification, undated. Box 7, Folders 1-3
Series Description:

Each entry contains the heading "Cairo Rabbinate," date, name and surname, date of birth, place of birth, profession, address, name of the father, destination, spouse's name, place of birth, names of the children in Arabic. Most entries have a photograph pasted in.

The volumes are bound, 71/4" × 4", without pagination.

Booklets of Certificates, November, 1946-January, 1947. Box 7, Folder 4
Series Description: Certificates are written in Arabic and French and numbered #3301-3400.

The volume measures 11"1/4 × 5"3/4, without pagination.

Series III: Records of the Administration of Synagogues, 1894 - 1954. Box 8 and Oversized Box

Account Book of Contributions to the Ba'al Hanes Synagogue 1890 - 1909. Box 8, Folder 1
Series Description: The ledger contains accounts kept in Hebrew and Arabic.

The volume is bound, 13"1/2 × 9"1/2, without pagination.

Register of the Synagogue al Ostaz al Amshati in al Mahalla al Kubra, undated. Oversized Box
Series Description: The ledger, in Arabic, contains accounts of weekly donations made on the Sabbath.

The volume is bound, 16" × 6"1/4 (oversized), without pagination. It is in poor condition.

Proceedings of Meetings of the Administrative Committee supervising Cairo Synagogues, 1951 - 1954. Box 8, Folder 2
Series Description: The records, kept in French, include numerous handwritten or typed letters from synagogue personnel and ritual slaughterers to officers of the community. Letters are generally requests for a raise in salary and are often written in Arabic. Many of these bear the note "a referer a la commission du Culte" (to be submitted to the Religious Affairs Committee).

Documents are typed on unbound pages. All pages have two holes on the left side, because they were kept in a loose leaf binder. "Proces verbaux, Commission des Temples, annees 1951-1952" appears on the cover.

Below is a summary of the key items recorded for each year:

1951Because of the shortage in qualified staff, the commission decided to reinstall a deliquent cantor and to train young men to check Torah scrolls (September 15).
1952Income from ritual slaughtering has been radically reduced since the death of the collector, Mayer El Sayegh. Sale of hind quarters of meat was prohibited because qualified butchers (menakerim) were unavailable (October 15). All sextons of Cairo's synagogues were called in to voice their complaints and offer suggestions relating to synagogal administration (December 17).
1953Cairo has only one ritual slaughterer, Messaoud El Baz; the commission decided to train 3 or 4 new ones among the candidates "who did not plan to leave the country" (March 5).
1953Draft of an agreement between Salvator Cicurel, president of the Jewish community and the Children's Hebrew Institute about the leasing of the Hanan Synagogue (Eiss Haiam) for the Institute's activities (no date). Decorum was lacking at the funeral ceremonies because they were led by undignified and unqualified people (June 25). A 2 meter high wall was built at the Ras El Bar synagogue. The income from ritual slaughtering was jeopardized by refractory butchers and cattle dealers (September 28). A 10% tax was imposed on wedding ceremonies at Ismailia synagogue for the benefit of the staff "to replace the tips given by the party during the ceremonies, for they caused disorders" (October 26).
1954The commission organized the sale of unleavened bread through four offices during the month preceding Passover. "Regarding the request of butcher Saad El Komi, the commission heard Rabbi Saad Mounir and was not inclined to allow him to sell Kosher meat. The commission, however, would refer the decision to the Beit Din, which is the only competent body to adjudicate the matter" (March 24). The commission again complained about the lack of trained ritual slaughterers and cantors in Cairo (May 4).
Arrangement: Arranged in reverse chronological order.

Series IV: Records of the Administration of Community Jewish Schools, 1951 - 1961. Oversized Box

Insurance Policies for Cairo's Jewish Schools 1951 - 1961
Series Description: The policies, in Arabic, are preserved as unbound photographs.

All pages have two holes on the left side, indicating that they were kept in a loose leaf binder. "Assurances, 1953-1960," appears on the cover.

Series V: Records of Welfare Agencies of the Jewish Community, 1920 - 1961. Boxes 8-9

Subseries A: Annual Reports of the Oeuvre de Bienfaisance de la Communauté israélite du Caire (Welfare Agency of the Cairo Jewish Community), 1943 - 1954
Series Description: Manuscripts and printed reports, in French and in Arabic, of the annual reports of the general assembly. These reports contain various statistics.

1946 report contains typed copy of the annual report. Carbon copy of a report on buildings owned by the Jewish community (51 buildings; 34 of them hosting 679 families, the rest were rented or dilapidated). The report discussed the question of whether to renovate buildings in the Jewish quarter or to relocate indigents in other neighborhoods.

1949 report contains carbon copy of the report concerning the relocation of families whose houses were destroyed in the events of June 20 and September 22, 1948.

Arrangement: Arranged in reverse chronological order
83Comité de Bienfaisance, 1943 - 1950
4Comité de Bienfaisance, 1951 - 1954
Subseries B: Societé de Bienfaisance Israélite, 1920, 1930-1944
Series Description: Files of the Commission de distribution of the Societé de Bienfaisance israélite de la Communauté israélite du Caire (Appropriation Commission of the Benevolent Society of the Cairo Jewish Community) in 1920 and during the 1930s and 1940s.

These handwritten and typed pages are in French and English.

85Folder E, 1938-1941
Case of E. H. S., placed in a special institution for deaf children in Ramat Gan, Palestine.
6Case of C. G., tuberculosis in Switzerland, 1938-1944
7Cases of four sick individuals, two in Beyrouth. Various appeals for funds from individuals, 1920, 1930, 1935-1942
Subseries C: Oeuvre de Nourriture et d'Habillement (Assistance à l'enfance), undated. Box 8, Folder 8
Series Description: By-Laws of the Oeuvre de Nourriture et d'Habillement (Assistance à l'enfance)

The society was founded to "provide lunches to poor children attending the Jewish community schools, and to equip them with clothing, such as shoes, aprons, etc.".

The by-laws are in French and Arabic.

The mimeograph volume, 13"1/2 × 8"1/2, 7 + 10 p., is in poor condition.

Subseries D: Hospital Israelite du Caire (?), 1959-1961
Forms to Dr. S. Hamoui
Series Description: Forms, completed in French, sent by the Cairo Jewish Hospital (?) to Dr. S. Hamoui, 642 rue Port Said, to examine patients and to give them appropriate medicines.
Arrangement: Arranged in chronological order
91 1959, August
2 1959, September
3 1959, October
4 1959, November
Correspondence with the Ospedale Italiano Umberto Io (Italian Hospital of Abbassieh) 1960, September - 1961, December
Series Description: Forms, completed in Arabic and French, prepared by the Ospedale Italiano Umberto Io (Italian Hospital of Abbassieh), mostly billing indigent patients. Many patients were admitted to the Italian Hospital on the recommendation of Dr. Leon Licha, 228 rue El Guesh. Some patients belonged to the Ashkenazi community of Cairo.
Arrangement: Arranged in chronological order
95 1960, September - December
6 1961, January - February
7 1961, March - April
8 1961, May
9 1961, June - July
10 1961, August - September
11 1961, October
12 1961, November
13 1961, December
Subseries E: Unidentified Register, undated. Box 9, Folder 14
Series Description: The register contains names of individuals living in the Cairo neighborhoods of Daher, Ghamra, Kobeissi, Mansi, and Sakakiny. Each entry, in French, provides the family name, first name, number of persons in the family and the address.

The register may be a list of assisted families.

An additional list, providing name and surname, age, and profession, is scribbled on the back of a blank registration form of Yechiva Ahaba Veahva, 4 Midan Daher, in Cairo and inserted in the back cover pages.

The volume is bound, 13"1/4 × 8"3/4, without pagination. It is in poor condition.

Arrangement: Arranged alphabetically

Series VI: Records of the Ashkenazi Community of Cairo, 1933 - 1955

Minutes of the Commission for the Conference Hall, March, 1933 - December, 1934. Box 10, Folder 1
Series Description: Handwritten manuscript, in Yiddish.
Ledgers, January, 1953 - November,1955. Box 10, Folders 2-3
Series Description: Volume 1953, January - 1954, September: The volume is bound, 12"3/4 × 8"1/4, without pagination, in French. "Communaute isr[aelite] Aschkenaze du Caire, Caisse, Janvier 1953-Sept. [embre] 1954," appears on the cover.

Volume 1954, November - 1955, November: The volume is unbound, 13" × 8", without pagination, and is written in French.

Accounting Records, 1947, 1950
Series Description: The records, kept in French, were found in an original loose leaf binder and all pages have two holes on the left side. "Societé de Bienfaisance israelite Aschkenaze du Caire. Documents caisse a partir de Juin 1947 a fin Decembre 1947," or "Societé de Bienfaisance israélite Aschkenaze du Caire, à partir du ler Janvier 1950 [au] 31 Décembre 1950, Documents Caisse," appears on the spine.
Arrangement: Arranged in reverse chronological order
104 1947, May - July
5 1947, August - October
6 1947, October - December
Distribution of funds to indigent families for the week of December 22, with signatures of recipients: 4 stamped with their finger on the page, 4 stamped with seals, 5 signed in Hebrew, 15 signed in Latin characters.
111 1950, January - April
2 1950, April - July
3 1950, July - November
4 1950, November - December

Series VII: Records of the B'nai B'rith Lodge, 1911 - 1928

Minutes of Meetings of the Cairo Lodge #687 of the International Order of B'nai B'rith, April 4, 1911 - December 21, 1912. Box 11, Folder 5
Series Description: This register contains the earliest minutes of the meetings of the Cairo Lodge, #687 of the International Order of B'nai B'rith, between April 1911 and December 1912. The proceedings of the very first meeting are missing. The membership of the Lodge were exclusively Sephardic Jews and its first president was Elie Baroukh. The minutes are in French.

The issues of membership and the relationship between the Lodge and the established Jewish Community were often discussed during this first year of activity. Moses Cattaui visited the Lodge on December 14, 1912 and defended his position on Zionism and the rabbinate. The Lodge was primarily concerned with education and culture among its members and the Jewish community, but it also took interest in defending foreign Jewish communities, such as Moroccan Jewry.

The minutes provide a unique insight into the modernization of a traditional Jewry.

The volume is bound, 12"1/2 × 8"1/2, with 98 pages. Pages 1-2 are missing.

Below is a summary of the key items recorded for each year:

1911Minutes of the first meeting are missing. The Cairo lodge replaced the Maghen David Lodge. Ms. O'Reilly, nurse, offered free services to lodge members. Members expressed a desire to to limit initiation of new brothers to "insure quality" of membership (April 4). Brother Bergel, of Jerusalem, planned to create a great lodge in Constantinople and requested that two representatives of the lodge attend the founding meeting (April 25). A plastic seal including the Sphinx, a crescent, the name and the founding date of the lodge was ordered (November 21).
1912 Heated debate took place regarding admission policy: should admission be limited to wealthy individuals or access be granted to "honorable and moral" people? (January 9). Visit of brother Levantine, director of the Anglo-Palestine Bank, who addressed the meeting in Hebrew (January 23). An extraordinary meeting of the Maimonides and Cairo lodges was called to discuss the need for a new meeting hall. The present one was in "a peripheral district, poor and far away from the Center." [Max] Roemer, president of the Maimonides lodge, described a new local at 13 rue El Mouakh, facing the Credit foncier egyptien. Roemer spoke in German for the benefit of the brothers of his lodge (April 7). The plight of Moroccan Jewry, especially of Fez, was described, and a collection was suggested on its behalf (April 30). Relief funds for Fez's Jewry were not being collected: "a strong, warm discussion in Arabic" took place (May 9). 600 French Francs were collected for Moroccan Jewry. The Zionist society Ahawat Sion was to meet in the lodge's hall in June. In a discussion of the intellectual activities the lodge could sponsor, the president [Elie Baroukh] praised the Talmud:
"We have a brilliant literature, added the Brother President. He quoted the Talmud, work which was so deprecated and which nevertheless contains the debates between Jewish scholars on civic and religious law. It is an excellent book, which brilliantly discussed all philosophies. You could even find in it some Socialism and some Communism. The Talmud provides us with the highest principles of ethics, kindness, charity and tolerance."
A letter was sent to the executive committee in Chicago, asking it to request from Moses Cattaui that he transfer the funds he acquired from the closing of the Maghen David lodge to the Cairo and Maimonides lodges (June 18). Various donations were made to the lodge's club: the director of the Alliance Israélite Universelle's schools offered his subscription to the Univers [israelite], published in Paris; Engineer S.D. David, his subscription to Die Welt and L'Echo Sioniste (July 2). The lodge established a list of activities and causes it could support: an educational fund, a cooperative, vocational schools, the fight against poverty among Egyptian Jews, a Jerusalem vocational school, general elementary education, dowries for poor brides, tefilin for poor children and referral services for unemployed men (August 8). Several brothers complained about the Sephardic Jewish community and its chief rabbi and suggested that it be reorganized according to the Alexandrian model (October 16). Solomon Cicurel was admitted to the lodge. Reform in the Cairo Jewish community was still a topic of debate on November 16 and 23. The Cairo lodge disclaimed responsibility for the anti-Jewish campaign in the Arabic press (December 7). Visit of Moses Cattaui, president of the Jewish community, and Samuel Cohen, head of the Manchester lodge, to the meeting of December 14. Cattaui affirmed his pride in Judaism, his esteem for Zionism and its founder, "the unique, late Dr. Herzl; it was only because he received orders from a higher authority that he had abstained from becoming a member." Cattaui went on to defend the Chief Rabbi [Raphael Aaron Bensimon] against opponents. He praised the wealthy Jews in Cairo for supporting the Jewish community's welfare agencies better than Parisian Jews.
Minutes of Meetings of the Maimonides Lodge of the International Order of B'nai B'rith, October 11, 1924 - March 20, 1928. Box 11, Folder 6
Series Description: This register contains the minutes of the meetings of the Maimonides Lodge, founded in 1887, between 1924 and 1928. The Lodge, whose membership was Ashkenazi, was then under the presidency of Dr. B. Sachs. The minutes are in French.

Zionism and religious community affairs were often debated among members. The president of the Lodge, Dr. B. Sachs, reported on his visit to the Tel Aviv Fair in 1926. The Lodge took interest in local and foreign Jewries. It provided assistance to the Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi which permitted him to undergo treatement. A Lodge member, Brother Emmanuel Grunfeld, was elected president of the Ashkenazi Community in Cairo in 1926. Support to Polish and Rumanian Jews was also offered by the Lodge. Foreign visitors, often involved in B'nai B'rith activities in their countries (France, Germany, Palestine), kept the Lodge members informed about developments outside Egypt.

The volume is bound, 13"1/4 × 8"3/4, 94 leaves. The cover is missing.

Below is a summary of the key items recorded for each year:

1924The meeting of December 17 took place in the Temple O.I.B.B., 10 Rue du Télégraph Egyptien.
1925Leopold Kahn of Paris, reported that Isaac Pinetti's widow was living in dire poverty. A party given by the lodge during Hanukkah did not mention the festival (January 7). Rabbi Aaron Mendel Khon (or Cohen), Chief Rabbi of the Ashkenazi community of Cairo, received 1,000 piastres to cover his expenses during a treatment abroad (October 7).
1926One hundred professors from Palestine visiting Cairo were greeted at the train station by two members of the lodge (March 17). At the meeting of April 21, a commission was created to help starving Polish Jews and the topic was not raised further. Dr. B. Sachs, president of the lodge, shared his impressions of a trip to Palestine, expecially his visit to the Tel Aviv fair (May 5). Brother Emmanuel Grunfeld was elected president of the Ashkenazi community (June 2). The lodge wrote a protest to an anti-Zionist article published in the Cairo newspaper L'Aurore (October 6). Only 19 members, out of 60, attended a banquet in honor of the new executive committee (November 17).
1927The Maimonides lodge was 40 years old on March 17 (January 13). The lodge mourned the death of Ahad Ha-Am. Despite the opposition of a "great Rumanian Zionist," the lodge wrote to the Chicago executive committee on behalf of Rumanian Jews (February 2). A petition, submitted by Professor Nahum Slouschz, was sent to the Society of Nations to protest the numerus clausus against Jewish students in Hungary, Rumania and Poland (February 16). The lodge recorded the "horrible and atrocious" death of its brother, Solomon Cicurel. The Lodge's members debated the future of the charity workshop it sponsored and later heard a lecture by Professor Slouschz on archaeological findings in Jerusalem which contradicted evidence that the Holy Sepulchre could have been the burial place for Jesus (March 9). The lodge wished that the regional headquarters be moved from Constantinople to Jerusalem (May 4). The charity workshop was closed (November 2).
1928The former president of the B'nai B'rith lodge in Stuttgart, Germany, visited the Maimonides lodge: he was astonished that Zionism and religious community affairs were discussed among brothers in Cairo; in Stuttgart such topics are "prohibited" (January 5). Dr. Yellin, president of the great lodge of Jerusalem, attended the March 20 meeting.

Series VIII: Photographs, undated, 1932-1958. Box 11, Folder 7

Undated photographs
1Face of a man-full view, 2" 1/2 × 1" 3/4
2Child in front of a wall, 4" 1/2 × 2" 3/4
3A group--three women and two men--in a forest, 2" 1/2 × 3" 1/2
4A group--two men, a woman, and a child, 6" 1/2 × 4" 1/4
E. Jacubowitsch, Libau, photographer, Russian and Hebrew inscriptions on the back
5Two men--one of them a soldier--in front of an Egyptian statue, 3" 1/2 × 5" 1/4
Dated photographs
6Y. Hankin (?). 3" 1/2 × 2" 1/2, 1932, July
7Woman nursing a baby, Heliopolis. 5" 1/4 × 3" 1/2, 1925, December 17
8Woman. 5" 1/2 × 3" 3/4, 1913, September 29
9Woman with three children. 2" 1/2 × 3", 1958, May
10Ruins at Louvains, Belgium
Postcard addressed to Mr. Besalel Ludikoff, in Jerusalem, by his mother Sonia, undated [after 1918]