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The lost Jewish surnames of Cairo

An extensive list of the surnames of the Jewish families who lived in Cairo has been published, helping tell stories across generations.
A picture taken on Oct. 3, 2016 shows a general view of the interior of the Shaar Hashamayim Synagogue in Cairo, also known as Temple Ismailia or Adly Synagogue.

Over the last two decades, interest in the Jewish communities in the Middle East in the 19th and 20th centuries, including their history, culture, literature and religiosity, has been on the rise, as shown by the increasing number of academic and literary publications about them. And the life of the Egyptian Jewish community has not been an exception.

Yet in this expanding body of knowledge, personal narratives focusing on the individual members and experiences that made up that community have largely been missing. This is in part attributed to the paucity of archival sources and the difficulty of accessing this information due to the geopolitical context, both in Egypt and throughout the Middle East. Even in more personal works, such as memories, names were to a great extent absent.

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