Carmen Weinstein, Leader of Egyptian Jews, Dies at 82

Lived Through Dramatic Decline in Community

By Forward Staff

Published April 14, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The leader of Egypt’s dwindling Jewish community died Saturday at the age of 82.

Carmen Weinstein, leader of Egypt’s Jews, poses with Hillary Clinton.
bassatine news
Carmen Weinstein, leader of Egypt’s Jews, poses with Hillary Clinton.

Carmen Weinstein, president of the Egyptian Jewish Community Council, had suffered from numerous health problems, according to Bassatine News, a newsletter for the Egyptian Jewish community, the Egypt Independent reported.

“The tireless long-term president of the JCC died … in the very early hours of this morning,” the statement said. “She had been suffering from her knees and poor blood circulation for some time now, which did not deter her from attending to official functions, last of which was Passover on 25 March. “

Weinstein will be buried on Thursday in a cemetery that she herself worked to save since 1978, part of her uphill struggle to preserve the Jewish heritage in Egypt. It is the only Jewish cemetery left in Cairo and is the largest in Egypt.

Weinstein was born in 1931 in Alexandria, then a multicultural Mediterranean city, during a time when the Jewish community enjoyed major economic and cultural influence.

She lived through the decline of the Jewish community from about 50,000 in the first half of the 20th century to no more than a handful at the present day.

The deterioration of the cemetery where Weinstein will be buried mirrors the dramatic changes Egypt has undergone as its population skyrocketed — and most of its once thriving Jewish community were forced to leave.

The cemetery is now a slum of tightly-packed redbrick apartment buildings that house thousands of poor Egyptians after waves of migration from villages in southern Egypt.

Parts of the cemetery were turned into a garbage dump, while another area was seized by antiquities’ officials. Weinstein was able to preserve a small area as a Jewish cemetery.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.