Moroccan King’s Visit to Historic Jewish Center Hailed by Community Leaders as Symbol of Diversity
The king of Morocco this week visited a center dedicated to the heritage of Moroccan Jews where he received a blessing from the chief rabbi of Casablanca.
King Mohammed VI traveled on Wednesday to the coastal city of Essaouira, where the Jewish Bayt Dakira (House of Memory) is located.
Dating back to the 19th century, the recently-refurbished museum and house of worship commemorates the role of Judaism in Morocco’s national heritage. Bayt Dakira is home to the Slat Attia synagogue as well as a research institute focused on the relationship between Judaism and Islam.
Among the Jewish dignitaries who met with the king were Andre Azoulay, a long-time adviser to the Moroccan royal family, along with David Pinto, chief rabbi of Morocco, and Joseph Israel, the chief rabbi of Casablanca, who recited the blessing for the monarch.
Azoulay presented the king with both a Torah and a Qu’ran. He told the gathering that the King Mohamed’s visit was a symbol of “our secular and millenary Morocco that has been able to protect the very great diversity, which is the central wealth of our country.”
Other guests at the event included the French-Jewish comedian Gad El Maleh, the secretary general of the Jewish community in Morocco, Serge Berdugo, and the executive director of the New York-based American Sephardi Federation (ASF), Jason Guberman.