The city of Kairouan had a large Jewish community, which was formed when the city was founded. Kairouan is indeed the seat of the yeshiva of Kairouan, considered as the first important talmudic academy in North Africa and which was closely linked to the yeshivot of Babylonia. However, the community left Kairouan for other towns in Tunisia following its expulsion by the Almohads in the mid 1100s, after many jews who refused to convert to Islam were killed. Under the dominance of the Hafsid dynasty in the late 1200s, the situation of the Jews in Kairouan improved notably, but it did not have the same splendor of its golden age.
The Jewish community of Kairouan was formed again during the French Protectorate of Tunisia, and it was not until 1920 that the city returned to have its vibrant Jewish past with the inauguration of a new synagogue located on the Salah-Souissi street. Motivated by the desire to assert its presence, the city's Jewish community chose in 1910 to acquire a plot of land in the heart of the hara to build its main religious building.
Around the 1970s, with the departure again of the Jewish community after the country's independence and the Six-Day War, the synagogue was made available by the Tunisian authorities in order to be used as a madrasa.
- "Les juifs de Kairouan: histoire et origine". tunisie-genealogie.com (in French). 14 May 2018. Retrieved 27 October 2020..
- Kairouan. Jewish Virtual Library
- The Jewish Community of Tunis. Beit Hatfutsot
- Colette Bismuth-Jarrassé and Dominique Jarrassé, Synagogues de Tunisie: monuments d'une histoire et d'une identité, Le Kremlin-Bicêtre, Esthétiques du divers, coll. « Patrimoines », 2010, 320 p. (ISBN 978-2-9533041-2-1), p. 210-214..
- L'ancienne synagogue de Kairouan va être restaurée.