The Jewish feast of Chanukah (or the festival of light) was celebrated on Sunday 16 December at La Goulette, a multifaith capital. On that evening, the last evening of Chanukah was celebrated in a festive, friendly atmosphere – a festival which commemorates the restoration of the altar of offerings in the Second Temple of Jerusalem.
Dar El Dhekra, an association for the safeguard and restoration of the Judeo-Tunisian heritage, had invited members and friends – regardless of religious affiliations – to light the lights of Chanukah, the festival of light and hope. Among those present were the United States Ambassador, the German Ambassador, the French Ambassador, and representants of the civil authorities, as well, of course, as representants of the Israeli ministry for religion, including the very young rabbi of La Goulette, who came from Djerba for this mission.
Government authorities and directors of the « troika » in power (Ennahdha, Congress for the republic and Ettakatol) were officially invited by the organisers, but did not deign to respond to the invitation, nor to send representants.
On this occasion, Dar El Dhekra presented an ambitious programme of cultural activities, and inaugurated the beginnings of a Museum of Judeo-Tunisian History.
Thus was announced for 10 January next, an exhibition on the alimentary customs of Judaism, and a study of points of similarity between Kashrut and Hallal.
On 24 February there will be an exhibition on « The Just Ones of the Maghreb » accompanied by testimonial films, and lectures.
In May, there will be a meeting on the theme of « The sources of Maugrabin music », bringing together images, photos, texts, partitions, objects and instruments. A CD is to be compiled of Judeo-Tunisian music and songs, and a concert will be recorded, with modern interpretations, of the songs of the Judeo-Maugrabin tradition.
Tunisian Judaism in conjunction with all times.
At the beginning of next term, there will be an exhibition of Judeo-Tunisian craftsmanship, and it is proposed to open a centre of formation.
The year will end with an art exhibition, on the theme « Tunisian Judaism in conjunction with all times ».
Among other activities, Dar El Dhekra has suggested visits to the Great Synagogue of Tunis, to Ghriba, to Djerba or the Jewish cemetery of Tunisia. These would all be festive, friendly ways of re-discovering a common history.
Sr Agnès Perrin – NDS