The Synagogue of Ben Ezra was originally a church. However, it needed to be sold to pay the annual taxes imposed on the church by the government in 882 A.D.
Ben Ezra Synagogue was originally a Christian church that the Copts had to sell, to the Jews, in order to pay the annual taxes imposed by the Muslim rulers of the time, and therefore Abraham Ben Ezra, who came from Jerusalem during the reign of Ahmed Ibn Tulun, bought the church for the sum of 20,000 dinars.
Ben Ezra then decided to convert the building into a synagogue so that Jew throughout the country would have a place where they could worship.
The synagogue has become famous for its Geniza, or collection old manuscripts and torah scrolls, which were found in hidden storerooms, comprising thousands of rare manuscripts.
A synagogue is described as “A prayer place for the Jews.” In old Greek, it means: “The usual place where the Jews assemble to receive religious teachings and to worship.”
It is situated behind the “Hanging church”.
It is built in the shape of a basilica (rectangle), consisting of 2 floors; the 1st dedicated to the men while the 2nd is dedicated to the women. The entrance is situated on the north side.