The selichot in the Algerian rite

A selection of selichot performed by Israel Dadoun, Abraham Dahan, Philippe Darmon, Amir Eliahou, Georges E. Haik, Haim Harboun and André Taïeb


The selichot are penitential prayers in which the worshipper implores forgiveness to God for the sins committed. This tradition is based on the thirteen attributes of mercy which have been, according to the tradition, passed on from God to Moses. (Exodus 34, 6-7).
In the beginning, the selichot were read during Yom Kippur service and for fasts. Then this tradition took place during the 10 days (yamim noraïm) between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The Ashkenazi communities and the Chasidim start reciting the selichot on saturday evening preceding (for at least four days) Rosh Hashanah service. The Sefardi communities read it at dawn before the morning prayer for forty days, starting on the first of Elul.

The following playlist features a selection of selichot performed in various Algerian rites. The traditions from Algiers, Oran on Constantine take their roots in the Spanish judaism In the 6th and 7th centuries, and especially in the 14th and 15th centuries, many Jews from the Iberian Peninsula mix with the Jewish local population, influencing their traditions. In the 18th century, the Sefardi Italian Jews from Livorno, the Granas, settle down in Algeria and become business intermediates between Europe and the Ottoman Empire. The 19th century markes the arriving of Jews from Tetuan (Morocco). Finally, the colonisation of Algeria by the French in 1830, the consistorial French model and the l’Alliance israélite universelle favor the introduction of Portuguese Sefardi, or Ashkenazi tunes, into the cult of the main Algerian cities. The great synagogue of Oran even had big organs with 18 sounding registers and 900 pipes !

Read the feature article on Selihot
Listen to the playlist Songs by Jews from Algeria 1
Listen to the playlist Songs by Jews from Algeria 2

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