Thousands of Jews from around the world have flocked to the ancient El Ghriba Synagogue in Tunisia, the oldest in Africa, for an annual five-day pilgrimage that begins 33 days after Passover.
Pilgrims began arriving last Friday on the Tunisian island Djerba, home of one of the last Jewish communities in the Arab world.
Ghriba means “foreigner” in Arabic. And like the other synagogues in the region, El Ghriba stands isolated in the countryside, far from the cities. According to legend, its construction dates back to the 6th century before Christ when Jewish religious dignitaries fled Jerusalem after the Babylonian armies of Nebuchadnezzar II destroyed Solomon’s Temple in 586 BC.