Wedding Joy in Djerba, Tunisia

The festivities continued into the wee hours of the morning at the new Jewish Community Hall in Djerba, Tunisia, as 400 guests from this tight-knit community recently celebrated the wedding of two popular teachers at the local Jewish schools with traditional food, music, and exuberant dancing.

An interest-free loan from JDC's SELF Fund, which is already being repaid, was instrumental in helping the community complete the construction of this much-needed gathering space. And this wedding marked a double milestone, since it was the first occasion on which the kosher kitchen (installed on the lower floor of the hall) was fully utilized.

Those facilities were also used to provide a celebratory meal the following Shabbat for 200 close family members invited to mark the giving of Sheva Brachot, the seven blessings traditionally bestowed on a newly married Jewish couple for a week following their wedding.

Comprising one of the world’s oldest Jewish communities, the 1,000 Jews now living in Djerba—an island off the south Tunisian coast—carefully guard their religious traditions and customs, and these were fully invoked during this wedding celebration.

Family members and well-wishers led a parade on foot from the bride’s home to the home of the groom’s family. The groom was elsewhere, being dressed by his friends, who recited a blessing over each item of clothing. Accompanied by musicians, everyone then walked to the synagogue for the chupah, or ceremony, with the gala celebration following at the new community hall.

To learn how JDC is helping to ensure that Jewish communities in Tunisia (as elsewhere) maintain their heritage and culture, visit: http://www.jdc.org/where-we-work/africa/tunisia.html.

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