Akko’s Tunisian Synagogue
A hidden gem near Akko‘s old city, the “Or Hatorah” Tunisian synagogue is a marvel of colorful mosaics covering all its interior, including the ceilings. Exhibiting themes of the bible, Judaism, the Holocaust and Zionism, the synagogue is a unique visual presentation of history of Judaism and the Land of Israel.
History of Akko’s Tunisian Synagogue
‘Or Hatorah’ Synagogue is the lifelong endeavor of Mr. Zion Badash, its first gabbai. Eager to adorn his institution with colorful mosaics, Mr. Badash contracted Eilon mosaics to install mosaic artworks on the synagogue’s floors, walls, and even on it ceilings. The themes are scenes from the bible, Jewish historical events, memorials of the Holocaust, and images of the modern state of Israel. Some of the artwork quotes mosaics floors of ancient synagogues, such as Ein-Gedi, Naaran, Beth-Alpha. Others echo the detailed geographical presentation of the Holy Land in the Madaba Map. The style of the artwork is provincial and naïve, yet colorful, charming and eye-capturing.
Touring Akko’s Tunisian Synagogue
Mr. Badash passed away in 2016, yet his daughter, Yaffa, continues to welcome all visitors, proud to show her father’s lifetime achievement. It is best to call in advance as the synagogue is not open on regular hours. There is a humble entry fee, and visitors are requested to dress modestly.
Setting a Bar-Mitzvah in Akko’s Tunisian Synagogue
‘Or Hatorah’ synagogue can also be a unique spot to celebrate a Bar-Mitzvah ceremony, especially for Orthodox affiliated Jewish families. The abundant and colorful decorations, all devoted to Jewish subjects and symbols, form a great stage for a festive family gathering to celebrate such a meaningful day.