Monday, December 13, 2010

Algeria: Fifty Years Since Sacking of Algiers Great Synagogue

Algeria: Fifty Years Since Sacking of Algiers Great Synagogue

(ISJM) On 11 December 1960, Algerian Arabs attacked the Great Synagogue in Algiers. Two years later Algeria gained independence from the France. The anti-French synagogue attackers "entered the holy place and went on the rampage, tore the memorial plaques off the walls, ripped up the symbols of our faith, sullied books and Torah scrolls, emptied the lockers where people stored tallit, tephilin and prayer books, and torched everything."

Albert Bensoussan and Julien Zenouda have written an accounts of the events of events leading up to the pillage and what happened to Algiers Jews afterward.

Read article in full - Via Blog du site terre d'Israel (French)

The article has been summarized in English on the blog Point of no Return.

The building was erected in 1885, and is now a popular centrally-sited mosque. A tall minaret was added ca. 1961. In the 1990s, a covered ablution area was built on the forecourt of the former Great Synagogue. Inhabitants of Algiers reportedly refer to the building as "the mosque of the Jews" (Djamaa Lihoud) it is also known as the "Djamaa Ben Fares".

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