One of North Africa's Last Jewish Communities | IFCJ
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One of North Africa's Last Jewish Communities

In the Arab world, Jewish communities are dwindling, threatened more than ever by anti-Semitism. However, Voice of America's Lisa Bryant reports on the Jews of Tunisia, whose community - one of the last in North Africa - was spotlighted during the recent festival of Lag BaOmer:

Thylda Lellouche cradles a handful of eggs: One is for a granddaughter facing an operation; two others are for peace and tourism to return to Tunisia, which was battered by three terrorist attacks last year.

Each purpose is carefully written on the eggs' shell.

"Peace on earth," she says with a smile, to anyone willing to listen. "I wish everyone peace on earth."

The eggs are handed to a middle-aged man. Bad knees make it impossible for Lellouche to put them in a special grotto at the Ghriba synagogue, in hopes that her wishes come true.

Around her, Jews from Tunisia and Europe chat on long, wooden benches. A group of men gather to chant. Others sell jewelry and food in the courtyard of Africa's oldest synagogue, located in Tunisia's southeastern island of Djerba.

The two-day pilgrimage here to mark the Jewish festival of Lag Ba'Omer casts a spotlight on one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities. While others are dwindling and dying, Djerba's 1,000 or so Jews are passing old traditions to a new generation.

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