In contrast to other remnant communities of the Arab world, the Jews of Djerba are not only surviving, but thriving. Anneka Hernroth – Rothstein visited them over Hanucah for the Jerusalem Post (with thanks: Michelle):
In some ways, modern-day Jewish life in Djerba is made possible by its distance from modernity, and just as the geographical distance from Nazi camps in some ways kept Tunisian Jewry from the worst horrors of World War II, geography also safeguards Tunisian Jewry from the plagues of the 21st century.
Djerba is an island, in every sense of the word, and the Jewish community here is cohesive and deeply traditional in a time where many Jews fall into rapid assimilation. The Jewish community in Djerba is young, 50% of them are 20-years-old or younger, and it is a growing community, too; Jewish women in Djerba have an average of 4 children, and some as many as 10.
The Al-Ghriba synagogue on Djerba. Click here to see other remaining synagogues of the Muslim world (w/thanks: Janet)
It is both strange and wonderful to feel as welcomed and at home in an Arabic country as I do in Tunisia, and what fills me with an even greater sense of wonder is to see how the Jews here have stayed orthodox and Torah-true, living in relative calm coexistence with their Muslim neighbors.