Tahiti’s 200 Jews


Keeping with the theme of island paradises, Ben Frank of JTA has written a story on the tiny Jewish community of Tahiti, where more than half of the Jews are intermarried.

The island is home to one Orthodox synagogue and while Shabbat services attract only about 20 regular worshippers, most of the island’s 200 Jews attend High Holiday services.

Having an Orthodox shul as the isle’s only religious option makes for some interesting situations. For years, the synagogue’s sunday school has admitted children of intermarriage, but it recently started barring children of non-Jewish mothers from attending.

Despite the tension between inclusion and exclusion and tradition and modernity, Joseph Sebbag, a former president of the community, says, “It is not a problem; everyone knows everyone else. …. We are all friends. We’re not so many, we are a family. Just that everyone knows we have an Orthodox synagogue.”

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