Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The flavors of the 'Island of Dreams'

From the Jerusalem Post

Tradition claims that Jews have lived on the Island of Djerba since the fall of the Second Temple( 70 C.E). Another, more popular tradition argues that a Jewish Community has existed there ever since the the fall of the First Temple (in 586 B.C.E). Now, which ever tradition may hold true, the fact of the matter is that the exotic island Djerba - off the coast of Tunisia - is home to one of the oldest Jewish Communities in the World. No small feat considering that it is located in the heart of Muslim North Africa.

But there is something very different about Djerba: Known to the the locals as the "Island of Dreams", Jews and Muslims live side by side in relative peace, as they have done for centuries. The cultures meld to a point, but remain distinct. The communities have come to rely on one another. If it were not for the Muslim bakers, there would be no ovens for the Jews to utilize in the preparation of their weekly Sabbath Meals. If it were not for the Jews, there would be no source for fine gold jewelry, or the tourist income generated by the large yearly Lag b’Omer pilgrimage.

Food styles and traditions are also shared, only diverging when dietary laws and religious observances come into play.

Click here for the entire article.

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