BASSATINE NEWS  the ONLY Jewish newsletter reporting directly from Egypt
A Community Chronicle put out by the Jewish Community Council (JCC) of Cairo since 1995



The most recent Bar Mitzvah at Maadi's Meyr Biton took place on a warm Saturday morning with temperatures hovering at 34 C. (94 F.). We are in June 2003.

The diverse congregation in the flowery temple included Brandt's parents, his older brothers Josh and Garrett and his extended family including Oppah An Umah who flew in especially from the US. Also there to celebrate with Brandt were a number of local and expatriate Jews, many of the latter colleagues of William H. Lanzet of the American Embassy. The Temple's upper gallery was choc full with Brandt's multiracial, multicultural schoolmates from CAC (Cairo American College) along with some of his teachers.

Also in attendance were Ambassador and Mrs. Gideon Ben-Ami of Israel, U.S. Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Gordon Gray and his wife, and JCC president, Carmen Weinstein.

Rabbi Emeritus Samuel M. Stahl of Temple Beth-El in San Antonio officiated in English and Hebrew taking note that this was a "vintage" Safardi Synagogue as opposed to the one he was used to back in Texas where the Lanzets last resided before moving to Maadi, Egypt.

A brunch was held in the Temple's garden following the ceremony.

Bassatine News was also there and here are some of the photos.

the 70-year old Meyr Biton Temple in Maadi, Egypt (click on photo)

Brandt Richard Lanzet, 13

with family

with extended family

Josh and Garrett receiving guests at Temple door

JCC President Carmen Weinstein with Rabbi Stahl and the Ben-Amis

San Antonio's Rabbi Stahl

(photos Samir Raafat)

Dear Carmen,

On behalf of our entire family, please accept my heartfelt thanks for all of your efforts in making Brandt's Bar Mitzvah a joyous, memorable, and historical event.

I am sure Meyr Biton would have been proud. Politics and personal prejudices were put "on hold" in Cairo for a brief moment. On the day of Brandt's Bar Mitzvah, the synagogue bearing his name was filled to capacity with onlookers from a myriad of religious, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds all joined together in prayer.

I have taken the liberty of attaching to this e-mail an article Rabbi Samuel Stahl has submitted for publication in the San Antonio Jewish Journal. This Journal reaches all Jews in a large American community regardless of congregation affiliation. In it he says, "When I welcomed the worshippers at that Shabbat morning service at the Maadi Synagogue, I announced that perhaps marking this Bar Mitzvah was God's sign that God wants the Jewish community of Egypt to continue to flourish. I earnestly hope that it may be so.

I echo Rabbi Stahl's wishes.

With deepest thanks and warmest regards,

Will Lanzet

A WEEK LATER.... Ruben's Bar-Mitzvah at Meyr Biton...

Ruben's Bar Mitzvah


Subject: Bar Mitzvah in Maadi
Date: Mon, 23 Jun 2003 08:56:49 -0400
From: Wahba.Leon

It was so nice to see that beautiful Temple being used for such an important life cycle event. I had many cousins that lived in Maadi (families Romano and Jabes). My father's cousin, Oncle Jacques Romano to me, was - in the late 50s and early 60s - very active in trying to keep the remaining small community of Jewish Maadites "together"! Your pictorial brought back many pleasant memories. Best wishes,
Leon Wahba


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