Tunisia Jewish Community mobilizes to protect its heritage

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    In Sousse, Monastir, and Nabeul, the Tunisian Jewish community, supported by the local authorities, is working to restore places of heritage.

    Portraits of rabbis, weavers, millers, farmers, athletes, and artists line the walls of the Gaston Karila space in Nabeul, in the Cap-Bon region.

    This gallery of faces entitled “The Last Magnificent” pays tribute to the last Jewish inhabitants of the city, including the famous Karila family who led the community under the French protectorate and was also the benefactor of the synagogues of Nabeul.

    Albert Chiche, 73, former director of a retirement home for Jewish elderly people in La Goulette, is behind the restoration of the space which he sees as a “place of memory”, more than a museum.

    Inaugurated in mid-August and located near the souk el balgha (savate souk), in the middle of the medina, the space of Judeo-Nabeulian memory Gaston Karila testifies to the dynamism and diversity of the Jewish community of Nabeul.

    A hundred kilometers from Nabeul, another city, Sousse, also rediscovers the hidden treasures of its heritage.

    Four streets have thus been renamed in homage to Jewish personalities: the lawyer Claude Sitbon, the doctor Daniel Uzan, the midwife Yvonne Bessis, and the Ghouila-Houri and Ichoua families who contributed to the development of the city.

    For Slaheddine Ben Ahmed, these initiatives need more support. “It’s a way of remembering the history of entire neighborhoods of Sousse that were Jewish. We grew up with this community, there are many memories of brotherhood and tolerance,” he explains.

    Ben Ahmed supports the initiative of historian Claire Rubinstein, a specialist in the history of the Jews of Tunisia, and granddaughter of the rabbi of Sousse, to rehabilitate the city’s synagogue, located in the medina.

    At the same time, Monastir Town Hall, about 20km from Sousse, organized a study day devoted to the Jewish community. from the city.

    During this conference, researchers and residents shared their common history, evoking their memories.

    (World Jewish Congress)

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