The Or Torah Synagogue is one of the most beautiful and moving synagogues in the region. This unique house of prayer is the dream of Acre resident Zion Badasche, who has made its construction his life’s work since 1955. Badasche also named it the Djerba Synagogue, after the Jewish community on the island by that name off the coast of his native Tunisia.
The Or Torah (Tunisian) Synagogue’s claim to fame is that it is literally covered in mosaics – every floor, wall, ceiling and step! The mosaics were manufactured for the Or Torah Synagogue by the workshop at Kibbutz Eilon in the Upper Galilee. The lower floor depicts dozens of birds and animals, and motifs that adorned ancient synagogues such as the menorah and the shofar. The harp and other musical instruments used in the Temple are also depicted. The main prayer hall has seven Torah arks and a dome adorned with symbols of the tribes, signs of the zodiac from ancient synagogue floors, and some of the building’s 140 stained glass windows. The women’s gallery is embellished with scenes of the matriarchs and other Biblical heroines. Modern Jewish and Israeli history is also amply represented among the artful depictions.
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