Morocco Restores Ancient Synagogue in Nod to Jewish Heritage

February 15, 2013 12:57 am 7 comments

The old Jewish quarters in Essaouira, Morocco. Photo: World Imaging/Wikimedia Commons.

Morocco held a ceremony on Wednesday to inaugurate the completion of renovations to an ancient Jewish synagogue in the historic city of Fez.

The two-year restoration of the Slat al-Fassiyine (Prayer of the Fesians) synagogue was part-financed by Germany. The ceremony included Morocco’s Islamist prime minister, Abdelilah Benkirane, as well as German parliament speaker Norbert Lammert, according to Global Post.

In addition, a Jewish former Moroccan Minster Serge Berdugo spoke as well. Israel and Morocco do not have formal diplomatic relations.

The restoration of the ancient synagogue in Fez, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is part of a larger effort by Morocco to come to terms with its Jewish community.  The new constitution that was adopted in 2011 amid the Arab Spring recognized Morocco’s Jewish heritage.

“As is enshrined in the Kingdom’s new Constitution, the Hebrew heritage is indeed one of the time-honored components of our national identity,” read King Mohammed VI’s message to the inauguration ceremony, Agence Marocaine De Presse (MAP) reported.

The King added that he wishes for the restoration of all synagogues in Moroccan cities so that they can “serve as places of worship…and as forums for cultural dialogue.”

Morocco was home to over 250,000 Jews during the first half of the 20th century. But amid the establishment of Israel and the Arab-Israeli conflict, many Jews fled or were forced from their homes throughout the Middle East. Today, Morocco’s Jewish community is estimated to be around 3,000.

7 Comments

  • Morocco still the open minded arab country

    • There are many ‘Moroccos’-The cosmopolitan educated Morocco- cultural ties in both Morocco and Europe.There is the Morocco of the city masses-poor and largely uneducated..Four Moroccan cities have over one million residents
      And the Morocco of the villages and farms-about 40% of Morocco is considered not urban.
      Beset by poverty and a 20+ % unemployment rate it also has a deep and deepening cultural divide..
      Arab -Berber
      About 1/3 of the population remains “pure” Berber. the other 2/3 is an Arab-Berber mix.
      There is Berber resentment of Arab culture and its destruction of Berber institutions and way of life.
      There is a strong appreciation of Palestinian aspirations in every community -but also an appreciation of Jewish contributions to Morocco along with an undercurrent of chagrin as to the treatment of Jews by some segments of the nation.
      There are in Israel a few thousand Berber speaking Jews.Before the Arab conquest there were Berber tribes that were Jewish..this was the extreme end of the Jewish world on the globe…and Jews as did other Berbers give women great power.At least one Jewish Berber tribe was led by a woman.
      I have many friends in the Moroccan Berber community-and they express a wide gamut of worldview.

  • Fez is still home to 200-300 Jews…it was the home of Maimonides for a number of years..beyond that many in the Fez area,actually throughout much of the central Atlas Mountain range,claim a distant Jewish ancestry.
    This six-pointed star flag
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Flag_of_Morocco_1912_1915.svg.png

    And the flag of the Rif Rebellion : Crescent and 6-pointed star

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Flag_of_the_Republic_of_the_Rif.svg

  • And WTF were the Germans doing there??

  • This shows the hypocracy of Arabs. They restore a Synagogue but let the Mellah (Jewish Quarter) in Essaouira rot. The restoration of the Fez Synagogue is just a propaganda stunt.

    • What for to restore it as no body lives there! or they have to restore it only for the fact that one day some jews were living there? let s be more reasonable!

  • ALL THE WORLD WILL KNOW G-D.

    MASHIACH SEEMS TO BE HERE

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Jewish Identity Sports LeBron James’ New Coach Shaped by Summer on Kibbutz and Jewish ‘Life Lessons’

    LeBron James’ New Coach Shaped by Summer on Kibbutz and Jewish ‘Life Lessons’

    JNS.org – Influenced by his Jewish upbringing and a summer on a kibbutz, basketball coach David Blatt is embarking on his highest-profile challenge yet: coaching LeBron James, the four-time National Basketball Association (NBA) Most Valuable Player who has made waves for returning to his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers. After guiding Israel’s storied Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball franchise to its 51st Israeli league championship and 6th Euroleague title this past season, Blatt landed the Cavaliers head-coaching job in June. Just weeks later, [...]

    Read more →
  • Food Jewish Identity Young Syrian Jewish Restauranteur Continues a Family Legacy

    Young Syrian Jewish Restauranteur Continues a Family Legacy

    JNS.org – At the turn of the century, a young Jewish immigrant arrived in New York. So begins the history of many American Jewish families. It is 27-year-old Albert Allaham’s story, too, with a few unusual twists. Albert’s “century” is the 21st—he arrived almost 100 years after the massive waves of European Jewish immigration. Rather than coming from a small town along the Danube river, his shtetl was Damascus. His first American business was not a pushcart on the Lower East [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity A Holistic Look at the Rebbe’s Life and Career (REVIEW)

    A Holistic Look at the Rebbe’s Life and Career (REVIEW)

    Did you know that in the entire Bible, only one birthday is mentioned and it is that of Pharaoh? And did you know that according to some scientists, by accepting Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, it is impossible to prove or disprove that the sun is the gravitational center of our solar system? In his new book, REBBE, best-selling author Joseph Telushkin reveals many surprising and sometimes shocking details as he chronicles the life and teachings of the charismatic Rabbi [...]

    Read more →
  • Food Mitzvos New Jerusalem Eatery’s Uniform Pricing Seeks to ‘Help People Make It’

    New Jerusalem Eatery’s Uniform Pricing Seeks to ‘Help People Make It’

    JNS.org – Omelet sandwich: 5 shekels. Iced coffee: 5 shekels. Tuna sandwich: 5 shekels. Fresh-squeezed orange juice: 5 shekels. Cheese bureka: 5 shekels. There’s plenty more on the Cofizz menu, but you get the idea. Dani Mizrahi and Amir Amshalm, two Israeli men in their early 30s, asked themselves: Why not launch a take-out food joint in busy neighborhoods around Jerusalem where everything—and that means everything—goes for five shekels, or about $1.50. They’d seen the concept take off in Tel Aviv, where [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israel New Primetime Drama ‘Tyrant’ Filmed Entirely in Israel (VIDEO)

    New Primetime Drama ‘Tyrant’ Filmed Entirely in Israel (VIDEO)

    The new FX Network drama Tyrant was shot entirely in Israel, just 10 miles north of Tel Aviv, Bloomberg News reported last Tuesday. Tyrant follows the life of an Arab dictator’s second son Barry, played by Adam Rayner, who reluctantly returns home to the Middle Eastern nation of his birth to join the family business away from his suburban life in America. The elaborate set production for the primetime drama included a crew of 300 and a reported cost of over $3 million [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Supermodel: Jewish Mothers Are Constantly Trying to Set Me Up With Their Sons

    Supermodel: Jewish Mothers Are Constantly Trying to Set Me Up With Their Sons

    Skokie, Il-born 25-year-old Erin Heatherton (Erin Heather Bubley) is rocking the modeling world. And in a new interview accompanying a cover spread for Miami’s Ocean Drive magazine, she says Jewish moms are “constantly trying to set her up with their sons.” Imagine that – who would have thought? “The moms, they’re doing what they do. It doesn’t matter what country they live in, what city – grandmothers, too,” she admitted. “But I’m probably going to do that too one day.” Heatherton was [...]

    Read more →
  • Education Israel First Ever: Turkish Academics to Visit Israel Holocaust Museum for Seminar

    First Ever: Turkish Academics to Visit Israel Holocaust Museum for Seminar

    Some 15 Turkish university professors and lecturers will take part in a first of its kind seminar at Holocaust museum Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies starting next week. The trip is especially significant as Holocaust denial is rampant in the Arab world. A Palestinian professor was recently forced to resign after he led a trip to the Nazi extermination camp Auschwitz. Participants in the week-long program at Yad Vashem will experience in-depth tours of the museum’s archives and [...]

    Read more →
  • Israel Music Guns N’ Roses Guitarist Rocks Solo Acoustic Version of Israeli National Anthem – Hatikva (VIDEO)

    Guns N’ Roses Guitarist Rocks Solo Acoustic Version of Israeli National Anthem – Hatikva (VIDEO)

    Ok, fans, question time. What do: Guns ‘n’ Roses shred-meister guitarist, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (aka Ronald Jay Blumenthal), “Hard Rock Hotel”, “Las Vegas” and Israel’s ”Hatikva” (The Hope) national anthem… all have in common? I know, you’re probably thinking, “Hmm, ‘One of these things is not like the other,’ would fit in here,” right? Um, no, turns out. Caught backstage by blogger Darren Garnick at the swanky Vegas gig in early June, Thal, acoustic guitar in hand, fretted out a sweetly melodic [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.