Monday, February 27, 2017

Will derelict Tunis synagogue be preserved?

 A Tunisian journalist has called for the last synagogue standing in the Hafsia neighbourhood of the Tunis ghetto or Hara to be turned into a museum of Judaism.

Work is already in progress to convert the basement, which houses a mikveh, into a cafe.

Already an airconditioning unit has disfigured the building, but Hatem Bourial would like to see its original features preserved - such as the cadelabras or menorot on the front door and Hebrew inscriptions on the walls.

 The front door adorned with menorot. (Photos: Lost in Tunis .com)

The Or Thora Synagogue was built in the early 1930s, prior to World War II, and designed by architects Aimé Krief and Jean Valensi, their names still recorded on the graffiti'd outside wall. It's been abandoned for more than 30 years; torn prayerbooks litter the delapidated interior. (See photos here).

Marc Knobel, a French writer whose mother was a Tunisian Jewess, has applauded Hatem Bourial's suggestion for a museum in this emotional article in the HuffPost Maghreb.

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