Swept up in the regional tensions of the past several months, Jews in Tunisia’s capital are praying the traditional evening service in full daylight these days. And the midnight prayer service and annual all-night public Torah study sessions that take place during the Shavuot holiday have been cancelled this year.

“No one leaves their house after 6 p.m.,” explains Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbi Shmuel Pinson, who travels back and forth between the North African nation and his home in Belgium. “They’re afraid to go out after dark.”

With Shavuot – which commemorates the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai – beginning Tuesday night and continuing for two days, the security situation has put a damper in the holiday plans of Tunis’ estimated 1,000 Jewish resident. Many members live far away from one another, says the rabbi, and “this makes it hard for them to feel safe together.”

Government forces patrol the capital’s streets each night, and search anyone who happens to be out after curfew. Such measures have made the city quiet, but the atmosphere is one Pinson characterizes as an “uneasy calm.”

Protests throughout the country last winter set in the so-called “Arab Spring” that destabilized the entire Middle East, led to the toppling of Tunisia’s government and the imposition of transitional rule. National elections in Tunisia were originally set for July, and power brokers are still grappling over the process and timeline to govern the polls.

But while Jews in Tunis will celebrate the holiday on a nightly lockdown, those on the island of Djerba – where another 1,000 members of Tunisia’s ancient Jewish community live – children and adults are expected to flock to the historic El Ghriba Synagogue for Torah study sessions lasting late into the night.

“Everything will be as usual for the holiday,” says Pinson, “because the community there is far-more tightly knit and lives closer together.”

The island community’s traditional Lag B’Omer celebration last month – which annually draws tens of thousands of visitors from around the world – was abruptly cancelled this year due to the security situation.

Pinson says concerns remain, including the fact that many Libyan nationals have fled the violence in their country and sought refuge in Djerba. A wife and daughter of Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi reportedly live on the island.

Through it all, the rabbi says that celebrating the giving of the Torah is a prospect too good to ignore.

“In the morning, the children will listen to the reading of the Ten Commandments and will hear the story of how we all stood at Mount Sinai together,” states Pinson. “And it will be good.”