So after getting the big bus from Matmata via Gabes, I am back onto Djerba island. So apart from the synagogue, I wanted to take a closer look at the Jewish community.
There are quite a few jewellery stores in Hamout Souk part of Djerba, and some are Muslim and some are Jewish. On a Saturday you can see which ones are closed, and some have the owners names as Ahmen, Mohammed, Simon, Rene, Sion, or Jonathan.
This Jewish owned shop has common types of jewellery, rings, bracelets and necklaces, new and antique, but also Jewish implements like menorahs (candlestick used for the Sabbath lighting) and seder plates and other things.
I asked about this strange piece of machinery. It’s actually a device to widen rings to them a bigger size.
Actually, though I think this place is my favourite and makes creative use of the Arabesque designs of these sorts of buildings that seem part of Tunisia’s character.
Apparently, Bitan is a common Tunisian Jewish name and means small house in Hebrew!
So both this and the other Jewish shop had a Muslim guy on the counter running the business while the owner is away.
The ceiling of this place is absolutely amazing, combining lots of languages and a mixture of flowers and Jewish and North Africa symbols.
Jewish organisations around the world like Chabad (which originates from New York) and Breslov (from Ukraine) often provide calenders to remember religious holidays on them. This one I was here was in a shop, but at the bottom has +216… which is the telephone code for Tunisia, so it seems the tiny Tunisian Jewish community make their own teaching materials.
There are some other Jewish symbols which seem different from what I have seen in Israel or Europe on tomorrow’s post.
1. Plans – 2. French Connection – 3. My hotel in Djerba – 4. El Griba synagogue outside – 5. El Griba synagogue inside – 6. Markets – 7. Christianity in Tunisia – 8. Ferry to mainland Tunisia – 9. Getting to Matmata, Tunisia – 10. Sidi Idris Hotel New Hope Star Wars filmset – 11. Secrets I learnt about the famous Matmata Star Wars set – 12. Cave homes for would-be Jedis – 13. More what you don’t see in Star Wars at Hotel Sidi Idris – 14. How hospitable is Sidi Idris? – 15. ATM machines and drought – 16. Matmata Nouvelle (New Matmata) – 17. Tunisian butchers and fisherman – 18. Libyan and Algerian neighbours – 19. Jewellery businesses in Djerba – 20. Tunisia and Israel relations – 21. Hara Kebira, Jewish school, soap and TV repair shops – 22. Jewish community of Hara Kebira – 23. Going home
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