Even Poorest Constantine Jews Use Flowers for Sabbath Table
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Even Poorest Constantine Jews Use Flowers for Sabbath Table

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Even the poorest Jew in Constantine, Algeria, the second largest city of the country, does not fail to decorate his Sabbath table with flowers, according to Dr. Leo Stahl, German-Jewish journalist, who has just returned from an extended trip of North Africa. Arab farmers from the towns in the vicinity of Constantine come to the city’s market-place every Thursday and Friday burdened with baskets laden with the rarest of Oriental flowers which the Jews quickly buy up, Dr. Stahl declared.

Most of the Jews of Algeria, which is a French colony, are Europenized, Dr. Stahl found. With tens of thousands of Jews, Constantine is the second largest Jewish community in the country. A large proportion of these Jews are traders, dealing in textiles and hand-made articles. Many are highly skilled artisans.

Jews have been living in Algeria since the fourteenth century, having emigrated to this North African land from Spain when that country expelled them in 1492. Although they live at peace with their Arab neighbors, of late there have been signs of growing hostility to the Jews because the latter are full-fledged French citizens, while the French government regards the Arabs as natives. Displaying an exemplary unity among themselves, the Algerian Jews, most of whom prefer to live in the European, rather than the Oriental quarters, are extremely hospitable to new Jewish arrivals.

Dr. Stahl brought back a report of a legend extant among the Jews in the oasis cities of the Sahara Derest that in the tenth or eleventh century a Jewish kingdom flourished in the Desert.

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