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December 27, 2014 / 5 Tevet, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘pilgrimage’

Tunisia Leader Facing Flack Over Jewish Pilgrimage to El Ghriba

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

Just one day after Tunisia’s leader urged officials not to make a fuss over normalization of ties with Israel, the country’s parliament voted to “interview” its tourism minister for deciding to allow Israelis to participate in the annual Lag B’Omer pilgrimage to El Ghriba synagogue on the island of Djerba.

The elected National Constituent Assembly (NCA) has announced it will question Tourism Minister Amel Karboul over the decision to allow Israelis to enter Tunisia.  Also to be “interviewed” will be Security Minister Sefar Ridha, according to international media reports.

“Our problem is not with our Jewish brothers who come for the pilgrimage but with the Zionist entity that occupies Palestinian territories,” said leftist Democratic Alliance head Mohammed Hamdi.

Since the country’s Jasmine Revolution in January 2011, Tunisia has struggled with a massive economic crisis.  Interim Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa warned the parliament Tuesday it was in Tunisia’s best interest to “make the tourist season a success, because tourism is one of the activities that brings immediate cash to the country.”

Of those activities, Jomaa noted, tourism professionals have determined “the pilgrimage to Ghriba must be successful for the tourist season to be successful.” He added, “This is a tradition known to us – the pilgrimage has been taking place for years.”

The tourism industry in Tunisia employs some 400,000 people and accounts for seven percent of the GDP.  Jomaa’s decision to create a policy of tourism “transparency” means that Israelis can for the first time use their official passports to enter the country for the pilgrimage, rather than a specific Tunisian embassy-issued document.

Tunisia had “offices of interest” in Tel Aviv in 1996, and Israel had one in Tunis as well. Those ties were established just two years after the closure of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) headquarters which had existed in Tunisia for the twelve years prior.  But the fragile ties established between Tunisia and Israel were torn apart in October 2000 when the PLO succeeded in launching the second intifada in Israel – prompting Tunis to freeze ties in a protest against Israel’s efforts to quell the violence.

For years Jews have gone to Tunisia for the pilgrimage, with or without formal Israeli-Tunisian diplomatic ties. But an Al Qaeda terror attack on the synagogue in 2002 left 21 people dead, and killed the tourist event for the next decade. The Jasmine Revolution and the Arab Spring did the rest.

A Pilgrimage to Shiloh, Like the Days of Old

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

Centuries before Jews trekked to Jerusalem for prayer, Jewish pilgrims came to the Mishkan Tabernacle in Shiloh to pray to God on chaggim, holidays and whenever they could.  Yes, the Shiloh where I live is the same Shiloh, which was the spiritual and administrative Capital of the Jewish Nation for almost four hundred years, from the time of Joshua until Shmuel Hanavi, Samuel the Prophet.

Yesterday,  a group of women came from all over Israel to visit and pray at the ancient site, Shiloh HaKeduma, Tel Shiloh.  They have been in touch with me via social media, mostly Facebook  and we have been planning this trip for months.

They traveled from various parts of the country by bus and car for the opportunity to pray where Chana prayed and see the modern Jewish community that has grown on the same site where our ancestors lived and visited.

No doubt that it was due to the holiness of the spot, but everyone managed to find the strength and agility to hike all over Tel Shiloh.

The highlight, of course, was the chance to pray and say T’hillim, Psalms to God, in the very spot most experts, archaeologists and Biblical scholars believe the Mishkan had once stood.

Everyone agreed that the visit was spiritually exhilarating, despite all their time traveling.

Afterwards, we spent some time in the Visitors Center, where you can buy drinks, snacks, local crafts and souvenirs, including  wine and olive oil from the area.

Pilgrims can’t leave hungry, especially Jewish pilgrims to Shiloh.  The last stop of the group was the local dairy restaurant, pizza place, where everyone ordered a delicious meal,and we even skyped with a member of the group who presently lives abroad. Thank God for modern technology.  Of course, the entire group is due to modern technology, internet and social media.  Almost all of us are writers, bloggers and photographers, so there should be more posts in various sites and blogs in the internet about this visit.

For information about Shiloh HaKeduma, Tel Shiloh, contact visit@telshilo.org.il or call 02-994-4019.  They cater to both groups and individual visitors besides running large public events during Jewish Holidays.

Visit Shiloh Musings.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/shiloh-musings/a-pilgrimage-to-shiloh-like-the-days-of-old/2013/04/25/

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