Carmen Weinstein, the longtime president of the Jewish Community of Cairo –
which had previously been headed by her late mother – died in her home in
Zamalek early Saturday morning.
She had been suffering severely from
blood clots in her legs, and had been warned by doctors to desist from physical
activity. But Weinstein, 82, kept up her community activities to the very end,
and on Friday had been in Maadi to inspect renovation works at the Maadi
Nadia S. Haroun, a member of the Egyptian Jewish community,
told the Post “This is a big loss for us.” Haroun added that there would be a
meeting as soon as possible to choose a new leader.
Asked if there is a
chance the community could break up and that people would leave the country,
especially considering the political situation, Haroun responded that this is
not the time to leave.
“This is our country and we have lived through
four wars so why should we leave now? What can happen to us that has not already
Zvi Mazel, who served as Israel’s sixth ambassador to Egypt, and his
wife, Michelle, knew Weinstein well. Mazel, who also is a contributor to The
Jerusalem Post, told the Post that he had met her for the first time in 1980
while he was working at the embassy in Egypt.
“She was loyal to the
community even though it was very small and she was under pressure from the
Egyptian security, she managed all the holidays,” he said. “She was a frequent
guest at my place as ambassador and was invited to every reception that the
Michelle Mazel, a writer, and the wife of Zvi Mazel, was in frequent contact with
Weinstein until she passed away.
She told the Post, “[Weinstein] was a
staunch defender of the community and insisted on holding the Seder even though
the doctors told her not to” for health reasons, adding that “she never thought
about leaving; she felt very deeply Egyptian, even though that may be hard to
Michelle said that Weinstein was an intelligent woman who
devoted her life to the community.
One of her key responsibilities was to
maintain the Jewish cemetery.
When Weinstein’s mother, Esther, died, she
took over the leadership of the community during difficult times.
were no men in the community, only women, and there was only a minyan if there
were foreigners or tourists present,” said Michelle. “This is a very sad day for
the Egyptian Jewish community.”
Asked by the Post if she had any last
wishes, Michelle said, “She probably would want someone to continue taking care
of the cemetery and what is left of the community.”
Last month, Weinstein
organized the community Seder which was held at the Sha’ar Hashamayim Synagogue
and was conducted by Rabbi Marc Alfassi, who came specially from France, just as
he had come for Rosh Hashana to conduct services for the
Alfassi will travel to Cairo again on Wednesday to conduct
Weinstein’s funeral, which will be attended by Ambassador to Egypt Yaakov
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