Rabbi Ely Allen, whose parents emigrated from Cairo in 1961, before he was born, shared some thoughts about events unfolding in his family’s former home.
The director of Hillel of Northern New Jersey, he said he has empathy for the plight of the Egyptian people.
“We’re all very concerned,” he said. “The average Egyptian lives on $2 a day for food, which is frightening.”
Regarding the unfolding situation, he said, “We hope it’s not going to negatively impact the peace agreement that exists between Egypt and Israel. Everyone is concerned about the Muslim Brotherhood statement that if they have influence the first thing they’ll do is rip up the peace agreement with Israel.”
On his parents’ recollections of living as Jews in Egypt, he said, “Egypt was like anywhere. There were people who were friendly and kind to Jews and people who hated us. So it’s difficult to generalize.”
Regarding the welfare of Jews still living in Egypt, he said, “I didn’t see or hear about any attacks on the Jewish quarter. [The protestors in Egypt] do not seem to be blaming Jews or Israel for what is going on in their country, although that may change. You never know.”
He added, “There are only a few hundred Jews left in Egypt. It’s just a matter of time before one of the major Israeli papers publishes something on whether the Jewish community is protected or synagogues are being attacked. I wouldn’t speak before I hear what is going on.”