Yom Kippur in Djerba

In memory of Saʿada Trabelsi who lived in Djerba, Tunisia most of his life

May these recordings, of ancestral traditions that were so dear to him,  serve as commemoration of a great man

Name of speaker: 
Saʿada Trabelsi Z"L
Gender of speaker: 
Occupation of speaker: 
Age of speaker at time of recording: 
Speaker's country of origin: 
Speaker's community of origin: 
Yehudit Henshke
Year of recording: 


A. Then pray. The prayer begins. The entire day goes to prayer.

B. Why pray? What are you praying for?

A. We're not going out. We pray Shaḥarit (morning prayer).

B. What are you praying for? Why pray?

A. Why pray?! Yom Kippur!

B. What do you want? for what?

B. Why pray Yom Kippur?

A. Why Yom Kippur?

B. Yes. Why make this holiday?

A. Why do it? It's Yom Kippur. It is Yom Kippur… not from the Tora. It is probably called Kippur, by Him (God).

B. For God to cleanse us of wrongdoing.

C.  Will atone for us. Will atone for us.

A. It is Yom Kippur, Yom Kippur, called from Mount Sinai. Isn't that so? Maybe a mistake? [...] Something else?

B. Yes. It said so in the Tora.

A. Yes. It is from the Tora, from Mount Sinai. Yom Kippur is accepted from Mount Sinai. Unlike other things - they were fixed by the wise. It is Yom Kippur from Mount Sinai.

B. But why? Why? 

A. It's from Him (God).

B. To cleanse us of wrongdoings.

A. Yes. Yes. It's not about that. it's clear. Accepted with the Tora. Descended with the Tora, Kippur. Oh.

B. One day of prayer ...

A. After Shaḥarit, Neʿila (closing prayer) ... not Musaf (additional prayer). After Musaf – resting for an hour. Some company gather together to read Tehillim.

B. What is a company?

A. Company means a gathering of people – gathering together to read Tehillim. Society, company of people - gather. After the prayer, go their separate ways, go to rest for an hour. And some gather and sit down to read Tehillim.

B. Aha. 

A. Then they call for Minḥa (afternoon prayer), remember that.

B. Yes. Yes.

A. Because the people are all gathered and separated. They call out to let everyone know – it is time for Minḥa.

B. Minḥa, Minḥa.

A. So they will come back. Be present.

B. Gather.

A. After Minḥa - Neʿila. After Neʿila – according to the day, they add readings of Seliḥoth.

B. Add after Neʿila?

A. What?

B.  Continuing to read after Neʿila?

A. What?

B. Continuing to read after Neʿila?

A. After Neʿila, if you’re interested in Djerba's custom, they continue to read Seliḥoth. To add the sacred to the profane. After that - ʿAravit. After ʿAravit they prepare their candles and return home with them.

B. Yes.

A. Lit from today. They want to return home whilst the candles are still lit. They walk half a mile with them on.  

B. On?

A. On! And whoever puts the candles off – does not enter the home until they light it back on. Remember that. Remember that! Hahaha and there are some who return home with the candles still lit.

B. Yes?!

A. We come in for dinner. After that we go out to bless the moon. It is a known custom. After the moon, we move the sukka.

B. Begin to build parts of the sukka.

A. We begin a bit with the sukka.

B. Why?

A. This is something. Why?! Applies to Corps. Always say it.

B. What is it?

A. I mean from mitzva (good deed) to mitzva. We do not stop. From mitzva to mitzva. We didn't eat a chicken and ...

B. And we stopped (laughing)