Old Cairo is the home of Cairo’s Coptic Christian community. The Coptic Orthodox Church traces its founding to Saint Mark the Apostle in 42 AD, and is thus arguably the world’s oldest Christian denomination. While the majority of Egyptians converted to Islam in the 12th century, the Church has survived through centuries of persecution, not only from hostile Muslim rulers such as the Fatimids, but also at the hands of the Crusaders, who viewed the Coptics as heretics. Today, Egypt has some 12 million Copts, but the narrow alleyways of Old Cairo still have the feel of an island set apart from the rest of the city.
Please, enjoy our photos, made by Einat Klein, from medieval coptic cemetery in Cairo. (more…)
Kapparot is a customary Jewish atonement ritual practiced by some Jews on the eve of Yom Kippur. This is a practice in which a person waves a chicken around his or her head. The chickens are then given to the homeless or poor as an act of charity (tzedakah). The practice of kapparot is mentioned for the first time by Amram Gaon of Sura Academy in Babylonia in 670 and later by Natronai ben Hilai, also of Sura Academy, in 853. Jewish scholars in the ninth century explained that since the Hebrew word גבר means both “man” and “rooster”, a rooster may substitute as a religious and spiritual vessel in place of a man. Enjoy photos by Einat Klein from one of the most scenic and vivd Shuk ha-Caparot (caparot market) in Jerusalem ultra-orthodox Jewish quarter Mea Shearim. (more…)