Lag Ba’Omer pilgrimage passes off without incident

Thousands of people participated in an annual
Jewish pilgrimage to Tunisia’s famed Ghriba synagogue in Tunisia, which ended
Thursday night without incident under heavy security. Report in the Times of Israel:

For two days, pilgrims prayed and sang in Hebrew as they lit
candles and placed votive eggs in a cave below Ghriba, Africa’s oldest
synagogue, on the island of Djerba in southern Tunisia.

About 3,000 people took part in the first day of the festivities, a police official told AFP.

Cheering and dancing, worshipers completed the pilgrimage by leaving
the “Menara,” an object of worship mounted on a cart for the ritual
procession, at Ghriba’s closely monitored outer gate.

French Jewish women write their wishes on
eggs that will be placed in a cave under the Ghriba synagogue in
Tunisia’s Mediterranean resort island of Djerba on the first day of the
annual Jewish pilgrimage to the synagogue on May 2, 2018. (AFP
Photo/Fethi Belaid)

The joyful march usually makes a tour of other synagogues and Jewish
neighborhoods on the island before returning to Ghriba, but in recent
years, celebrations have been confined to Ghriba for security reasons.

According to Rene Trabelsi, co-organizer of the annual pilgrimage, nearly 400 Israelis took part in this year’s festivities.

Organized every year on the 33rd day of the Omer, the traditional
counting of the 49 days separating the Jewish festivals of Passover and
Shavuot, the Ghriba pilgrimage has long been a central tradition for
Jewish Tunisians.

The day is called Lag B’Omer, and is also celebrated in Israel and throughout the Jewish world with bonfires and pilgrimages.

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Djerba Jews at the El-Ghriba Synagogue on Tunisia's southern island. (photo credit:upyernoz via CC/JTA)

 

Reuters report (Israel Hayom – with thanks: Lily)

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