Or Torah Synagogue – Acre, Israel - Atlas Obscura

Or Torah Synagogue

This synagogue is covered in beautiful mosaics that explore the history of the Jewish people. 

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Just outside of Acre’s old walled city, lies the Or Torah Synagogue, also known as the Tunisian Synagogue in Acre.

The synagogue was first constructed in 1955 in line with a wave of Tunisian immigrants arriving in Israel during the 1950s and 1960s. The synagogue is widely credited with seeking to re-establish the Jewish pride seen in mosaics of ruined ancient synagogues found throughout Israel.

For over  54 years, the four floors of the synagogue were covered wall-to-wall in mosaic tiling crafted entirely on natural stones from all over Israel. The mosaics display Jewish history from the biblical age to the present day. Some designs display the enslavement of Jewish people in Egypt, others detail Jewish resistance during World War II. They also display various celebrations that take place during Jewish holidays. 

The synagogue has silver doors that protect another set of doors to its main ark. There are seven Torah arks inside the synagogue. The doors themselves speak to the fight for statehood, they also pay homage to Jewish communities annihilated by the Nazis and their collaborators.

Stained-glass windows celebrate the state of Israel, depicting the Knesset and the Israeli flag. Today, the synagogue serves a large community of Sephardic Jews in Akko.

Know Before You Go

Visits to the synagogue generally need to be scheduled by calling in advance. The community is quite welcoming to people interested in the synagogue. It's appropriate to dress modestly when visiting.

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