Jews Gather at Ancient Tunisian Synagogue

Pilgrimage Comes at Uncertain Time for Nation's Jews

By JTA

Published May 10, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Hundreds of Jews gathered on Tunisia’s Djerba Island as part of a pilgrimage to the 2,500-year-old El Ghriba synagogue.

Some 500 European Jews and 1,000 Jewish Tunisians made the journey Wednesday to celebrate the yahrzeit, or anniversary of the death, of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, the 2nd-century Torah scholar and author of the Zohar, the French news agency AFP reported.

The festival surrounding the pilgrimage was canceled last year due to the revolution that swept the country’s longtime autocrat, President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, from power.

Some Tunisian Jews have been unsettled by demonstrations there in recent months in which fervently religious Salafi groups with alleged ties to al-Qaida called on Muslims to kill or wage war against Jews.

In April, Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki visited the El Ghriba synagogue to mark the 10-year anniversary of the 2002 al-Qaida truck bombing at the synagogue that killed 21 people. Marzouki in his speech called for Jews to be welcomed to the annual pilgrimage.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • “I don’t want to say, ‘Oh oh, I’m not Jewish,’ because when you say that, you sound like someone trying to get into a 1950s country club, “and I love the idea of being Jewish." Are you a fan of Seth Meyers?
  • "If you want my advice: more Palestinians, more checkpoints, just more reality." What do you think?
  • Happy birthday Barbra Streisand! Our favorite Funny Girl turns 72 today.
  • Clueless parenting advice from the star of "Clueless."
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.