Magazine

Searching for the last Jews of Tunis

The small Jewish community in the country famous for the birth of the Arab Spring focuses on tradition but is proud to be Tunisian.

A KOSHER butchery on the Avenue de la Liberté (Freedom Street) in front of the Great Synagogue.
Photo by: EVA TAPIERO
The synagogue in La Goulette, the port of Tunis, is not the easiest place to find. When it’s closed, nothing gives it away. But locals in this suburban area of the city readily help tourists spot one of the last active synagogues in Tunisia.

Children weave in and out of the street playing games, shouting in Arabic, “Jew, Jew!” But they’re non-threatening, and even take to some good natured flirting with foreigners. There is an active police presence around Jewish monuments, such as the Great Synagogue of Tunis on the city’s Avenue de la Liberté (Freedom Street) and the La Goulette retirement home. The government is trying hard to show that the country is safe and that the Jewish community, especially, is protected. Tunisia was a French colony from 1881 until its independence in 1956.



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