The Great or Grand Synagogue, also known as the Great Temple1, in Algiers was built by Napoleon III and inaugurated in 1865 as a monumental house of worship for the Jews of Algeria’s capital, Algiers. The Great Synagogue is an icon that has been called the “greatest symbol of Algerian Judaism.” Located in the heart of the city’s Casbah, the synagogue is also known as “Synagogue de Rue Randon” (its location) or “Synagogue Bloch” (in memory of Algiers’ one-time chief rabbi). To this day local Muslims refer to it as the “mosque of the Jews” (“Djamaa Lihoud”), and it has in fact been converted into a mosque. On December 11, 1960, the synagogue was attacked by Algerian independence fighters and desecrated– an incident that signaled the beginning of the end for Algerian Jews. Sidi Bel Abbès is located in northwestern Algeria, along the Mekerra River, in the center of the vast plain between Jebel Tessala in the north and the Daya Mountains in the south. Jews from Oran, Tlemcen, and Mascara began to settle there in 1851, and by 1868, Sidi Bel Abbès's Jewish population numbered about 800. The Jewish community grew to 2,941 in 1921, and about 3,200 in 1954. By the time of Algerian independence in 1962, however, a majority of the Jews from Sidi Bel Abbès settled in France, and Israel.