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Exploring Akko

Visiting the Tunisian Synagogue, Akko

On Monday 11 June, two busloads full of eager ex-South African explorers arrived at the port in Haifa to begin their journey to Akko. Commencing with breathtaking views from a cruise and concluding with Mincha in the beautiful Tunisian Synagogue, this action-packed day gave participants a taste of history, a glimpse of Israel's natural beauty and an opportunity to meet new people and catch up with old friends.   

In spite of a few cases of seasickness, the ferry ride from Haifa to Akko guaranteed a beautiful start to the day. Participants were captivated by the beauty of Israel's northern coastline from the Mediterranean Sea. After docking at the port in Akko, the tiyul participants explored the Turkish Souk in the old city of Akko. This was followed by a picnic lunch in the Lili Sharon Park. After lunch, the group headed to the spectacular Or Torah Synagogue.

The Or Torah Synagogue is also known as the Tunisian Synagogue, and was modelled on the El Ghriba synagogue on Djerba Island, which is off the Tunisian coast. The spectacular building was erected in 1955.  The interior of the building has been adorned with the mosaic artistry depicting Biblical scenes and events. This magnificent mosaic art covers the floors, walls and ceilings of the building, replicating similar mosaic artwork in the Synagogue on Djerba Island. A guide gave a talk on the Tunisian Synagogue and its history, after which participants were shown the magnificent collection of Sifrei Torah. A further highlight was the opportunity for those who wished to do so, to daven Mincha in the Shul with the service being expertly led by Solly Sacks.

It would be remiss not to mention the oldest member of the touring party, 94 year old Morris Marcus, who made Aliyah from Cape Town 4 years ago. Thanks to our knowledgeable volunteers, Joel Klotnick and Peter Bailey, who provided snippets of history, geography and general knowledge during the bus ride to Haifa, and to Dana Ben Chail (honorary South African, and head of Telfed's Events and Volunteering Department).




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