Work on Beirut’s only synagogue will finish this October and it will officially open its doors to the public in 2011 according to Isaac Arazi, the head of the Lebanon’s Jewish community:

The synagogue’s restoration has so far cost $700,000 and the final bill is expected to reach $1.2 million, Arazi said. Most of the financing has come from Lebanese Jews outside the country, while Christians and Muslims have also contributed.

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When it opens again early next year, the synagogue will have seating for 600 men and 300 women. Religious artifacts such as the Torah and other books and items required for services will be brought from Turkey and Syria, and the synagogue will seek to appoint a rabbi familiar with Middle Eastern and North African Sephardic Jewish rituals from the region, possibly from Yemen, Egypt or Turkey, Arazi said.

With the synagogue almost complete, work can begin on other areas:

The community has also begun to repair the Jewish cemetery in Beirut, where about 4,500 Jews are buried, at a cost of about $200,000, and there are also plans to restore defunct synagogues elsewhere in the country, including one in Bhamdoun, a town 23 kilometers (14 miles) from the capital.

View from the side of the Maghen Abraham Synagogue | August 2004

View from the side of the Maghen Abraham Synagogue | August 2004