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Photographer's Note

While I was browsing my archives on Tunisia, I came upon the photos of this place that I believe will be as surprising to many as it was for me when I knew about its existence. My hesitations about posting at least one photo of the place vanished when I discovered that there isn't any post of it on TE.

I posted two complementary views as WS's, one with the external entrance and another one with the synagogue door.

This synagogue is commonly referenced as the most important of North Africa. It is still the destination of an important Jewish pilgrimage on the time of Passover (aka Pesach, Pesah, Pesakh). Sadly, it is also famous for an Al-Qaeda terrorist attack that occurred in 2002 and in which 15 foreign tourists and 6 Tunisians were killed.

According to the Jewish oral tradition, the synagogue was built 2000 years ago by Jewish priest that fled Jerusalem after the destruction of the temple of that city. That being true, it is one of the oldest synagogues of the world. The present construction is from the 19th century, but there are written references of the existence of a synagogue on the same place in the 16th century

Until as late as the 1950's, the Jewish community of Djerba was an important one. Now almost all of the Jews have fled either to Israel or to France, but many still keep a house on the island and return every year. Jews and Muslims in Djerba always related peacefully, something that perhaps isn't so peculiar, as until the second half of the 20th century Jews were much less persecuted in Muslim countries than they were in most of the Christian ones; after all, many Jews expelled from Portugal and Spain in the 16th century found home in North Africa and Turkey.

You can find more info on Djerba on the note of this earlier post of mine of one of its museums. I have also grouped my posts of this trip to Tunisia under a travelogue.

Weblinks to more info:

* Wikipedia

* Beth Hatefutsoth, the Nahum Goldmann Museum of the Jewish Diaspora

* jewishrefugees.blogspot.com (blog article on the May-2007 pilgrimage)

* talesmag.com (description of her own pilgrimage by an actual pilgrim)

Location (latitude, longitude): 33.813985,10.859223

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Additional Photos by Jose Pires (stego) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4422 W: 612 N: 7301] (24132)
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