Trip to Djerba for Ghriba Synagogue pilgrimage during Lag Baomer

In Djerba Island, Tunisia, Ghriba Synagogue pilgrimage is celebrated during “Lag Baomer”. It’s the second most sacred place for Judaism, basically because it was the place where a big Jewish settlement took place after the fire in the Temple of Jerusalem (Jews emigrated to this area and settled in the island). Pilgrims from all around the world, especially French Jews, go on the pilgrimage during “Lag Baomer”. They say that in this synagogue, there is a piece from the Temple of Jerusalem. In this island, Jews and Muslims peacefully live together and there is a Jewish neighborhood.

Today, during pilgrimage and due to the terrorist attacks in Tunisia, it’s very safe.

I travelled there in May 2018, without knowing much, since sometimes for safety reasons, the exact pilgrimage dates are not provided. So, there was not much information on the Internet. So, for me, it was a surprise trip. What I liked the most was the hotel. I stayed at “Dar Dhiafa” hotel.

Beautiful place to relax! I would only go back to enjoy the hotel, since from all the hotels I went to in my life, it was the one I liked the most. Decoration and staff courtesy are unbeatable!

The synagogue does not actually seem to be a synagogue. It is a building, where white and blue colors proliferate, such as in the rest of the island. They are Mediterranean colors.

There were two celebration days. I honored the “eggs” ceremony. The tradition says that this synagogue was built in the same place where a young girl (ghriba) lived, but she was not accepted by the rest. In fact, “ghriba” means “isolated”. She passed away there, and her body was found by Jews in the area. She was buried in a cave where pilgrimage takes place today. Women who look for a husband put eggs in this “cave”, where they say that the girl’s body was found. In fact, I wrote wishes I wanted to become true on the egg’s shell with a marker. Likewise, all women perform this ceremony, not all single ones. Then, in the afternoon, in front of the synagogue, there was another building where French Jews sang and danced. A very particular ceremony, very intimate; for pilgrims, it is a moment of union, sharing and prayers.

In the island, there is an area near the synagogue where you can find graffiti. Very nice to take pictures!

Ghriba Synagogue during Lag Baomer
Egg ceremony