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...

  • Book Reviews Commentary In ‘America in Retreat,’ a Real-Life Risk Board

    In ‘America in Retreat,’ a Real-Life Risk Board

    JNS.org – “Risk: The Game of Strategic Conquest,” the classic Parker Brothers board game, requires imperial ambitions. Players imagine empires and are pitted against each other, vying for world domination. Amid this fictional world war, beginners learn fast that no matter the superiority of their army, every advance is a gamble determined by a roll of the dice. After a defeat, a player must retreat. Weighted reinforcement cards provide the only opportunity to reverse a player’s fortunes and resume the [...]

    Read more →
  • Beliefs and concepts Sports Does Working Out With Other Jews Keep You Jewish?

    Does Working Out With Other Jews Keep You Jewish?

    JNS.org – For Daphna Krupp, her daily workout (excluding Shabbat) at the Jewish Community Center (JCC or “J”) of Greater Baltimore has become somewhat of a ritual. She not only attends fitness classes but also engages with the instructors and plugs the J’s social programs on her personal Facebook page. “It’s the gym and the environment,” says Krupp. “It’s a great social network.” Krupp, who lives in Pikesville, Md., is one of an estimated 1 million American Jewish members of more [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Sports Illustrated Profiles Orthodox NCAA Basketball Player Aaron Liberman

    Sports Illustrated Profiles Orthodox NCAA Basketball Player Aaron Liberman

    Sports Illustrated magazine featured an extensive profile on Orthodox-Jewish college basketball player Aaron Liberman on Wednesday.  The article details Liberman’s efforts to balance faith, academics and basketball at Tulane University, a challenge the young athlete calls “a triple major.” Sports Illustrated pointed out that Liberman is the second Orthodox student to play Division I college basketball. The other was Tamir Goodman, the so-called “Jewish Jordan.” As reported in The Algemeiner, Liberman started his NCAA career at Northwestern University. According to [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Cycling the Desert: New Israel Bike Trail Connects Mitzpe Ramon to Eilat

    Cycling the Desert: New Israel Bike Trail Connects Mitzpe Ramon to Eilat

    As the popularity of cycling continues to increase across the world, Israel is working to develop cycling trails that make the country’s spectacular desert accessible to cyclists. The southern segment of the Israel Bike Trail was inaugurated on Feb. 24 and offers for the first time a unique, uninterrupted 8-day cycling experience after six years of planning and development. The southern section of the Israel Bike Trail stretches over 300 kilometers in length and is divided into eight segments for mountain biking, [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Theater Forthcoming Major Action Movies Inspired by Jewish Comic Artist Jack Kirby

    Forthcoming Major Action Movies Inspired by Jewish Comic Artist Jack Kirby

    JNS.org – With the recent Oscars in the rearview mirror, Hollywood’s attention now shifts to the rest of this year’s big-screen lineup. Two of the major action films coming up in 2015—Avengers: Age of Ultron, which hits theaters in May, and the third film in the Fantastic Four series, slated for an August release—have Jewish roots that the average moviegoer might be unaware of. As it turns out, it took a tough Jewish kid from New York City’s Lower East [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity When Torah Teaches Life and Life Teaches Torah (REVIEW)

    When Torah Teaches Life and Life Teaches Torah (REVIEW)

    JNS.org – Rabbi Gordon Tucker spent the first 20 years of his career teaching at the Conservative movement’s Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) and the next 20 years as the rabbi of Temple Israel Center in White Plains, N.Y. I confess that when I heard about the order of those events, I thought that Tucker’s move from academia to the pulpit was strange. Firstly, I could not imagine anyone filling the place of my friend, Arnold Turetsky, who was such a talented [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Oscars 2015: Reflecting on Love at First Sight

    Oscars 2015: Reflecting on Love at First Sight

    JNS.org – I’m in love, and have been for a long time. It’s a relationship filled with laughter, tears, intrigue, and surprise. It was love at first sight, back when I was a little girl—with an extra-terrestrial that longed to go home. From then on, that love has never wavered, and isn’t reserved for one, but for oh so many—Ferris Bueller, Annie Hall, Tootsie, Harry and Sally, Marty McFly, Atticus Finch, Danny Zuko, Yentl, that little dog Toto, Mrs. Doubtfire, [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Book Reviews Examining America’s First Foray into the Middle East (REVIEW)

    Examining America’s First Foray into the Middle East (REVIEW)

    At the turn of the 21st century through today, American involvement in Middle Eastern politics runs through the Central Intelligence Agency. In America’s Great Game: The CIA’s Secret Arabists and the Shaping of the Modern Middle East, historian Hugh Wilford shows this has always been the case. Wilford methodically traces the lives and work of the agency’s three most prominent officers in the Middle East: Kermit “Kim” Roosevelt was the grandson of president Theodore Roosevelt, and the first head of [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.