El Ghriba synagogue

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El Ghriba Synagogue
El Ghriba.jpg
Interior of El Ghriba Synagogue
Basic information
Location Djerba, Tunisia
Affiliation Orthodox Judaism
Rite Maghrebi (Tochavim)
Country Tunisia
Status Pilgrimage site
Architectural style Moorish

The ancient El Ghriba Synagogue (Arabic: كنيس الغريبة‎‎), also known as the Djerba Synagogue, is located on the Tunisian island of Djerba. It is situated in the Jewish village of Hara Seghira (currently known as Er-Riadh), several kilometres southwest of Houmt Souk, the main town of Djerba.


One explanation of its name is that it is named after a legendary girl who arrived from nowhere; "Ghriba" means "stranger".[1] Other explanations include stories of a pious woman who died when her hut caught fire and everything burned except her body; supposedly the synagogue was built in recognition of her saintliness.[2] The synagogue is the destination of an annual pilgrimage of many Tunisian Jews for the holiday of Lag BaOmer, which takes place 33 days after the beginning of the celebration of Passover.[3] While the site of the synagogue itself dates back to 586 B.C.E.,[citation needed] the current structure was built in the 20th century.[4] An oral tradition passed down by the Jews of Djerba claim that a stone taken from Jerusalem's Second Temple was laid-up as a memorial in the El Ghriba synagogue.[5]


El Ghriba synagogue

On Simchat Torah 1985, a police officer charged with the security of the synagogue opened fire on the congregation causing the death of three people, including a child.

On April 11, 2002, a truck full of explosives was detonated close to the synagogue, killing 21 people, of whom 14 were German tourists, five Tunisians and two French nationals. Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the bombing.[6]

See also


  1. ^ Blady, Ken (2000). Jewish Communities in Exotic Places. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson, Inc. p. 338. ISBN 978-0-7657-6112-5. 
  2. ^ Ben-Amos, Dan (2011). Folktales of the Jews, V. 3 (Tales from Arab Lands). Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society. p. 171. ISBN 978-0-8276-0871-9. 
  3. ^ Jewish communities of the world, Avi Beker, World Jewish Congress, Published by World Jewish Congress, 1996, p. 212
  4. ^ DK (2011). DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Tunisia: Tunisia. New York: DK Publishing. p. 180. ISBN 978-0-7566-8479-2. 
  5. ^ Udovitch, Abraham L.; Valensi, Lucette; Perez, Jacques (2016). The Last Arab Jews: The Communities of Jerba, Tunisia. London: Routledge. p. 22. ISBN 978-1-317-30453-1. Retrieved 14 July 2017. 
  6. ^ Tunisian bomb attack trial opens, BBC

External links

Coordinates: 33°48′54″N 10°51′31″E / 33.8149361111°N 10.8586916667°E / 33.8149361111; 10.8586916667

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