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Pilgrimage to Tunisian island of Djerba highlights ancient Jewish heritage

The Ghriba pilgrimage is a testament to the resilience of Tunisia’s minority Jewish community, which dates back more than 2,000 years.
A Tunisian Jewish woman is seen in the Ghriba synagogue in the Tunisian resort island of Djerba.

DJERBA, Tunisia — Jewish pilgrims from around the world flocked to the Tunisian island of Djerba in mid-May to visit El Ghriba, the oldest synagogue in Africa, sharing festivities with an ancient Jewish community there that has stood the test of time. 

Thousands of Jewish worshippers, many from France, Israel and the United States, made their way to the holy site May 19-20 for the annual pilgrimage, part of the Lag B’Omer Festival that marks 33 days after the start of the Jewish Passover. Outside of Israel, El Ghriba is one of the most sacred Lag B’Omer destinations, said to have been built more than 2 millennia ago when the first Jews arrived to Djerba with a stone from the Temple of Jerusalem. 

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