Rediscovering Jewish heritage - La redécouverte du patrimoine juif

Language Arabic, English, French, German, Hebrew (modern), Spanish
Cost 250 USD for tour/excursion
Capacity Group of up to 4 people
Duration 4 hours

Jewish life (the oldest Moroccan mellah was built there in Fez in 1438), cemetery keeper Edmond Gabbay has created a “museum” in the former yeshiva adjoining the mellah’s Jewish cemetery. One finds, in this most astonishing place, a panoply of various objects: tin cans, photos, books, traditional clothing... Objects of worship cohabit with everyday objects. Finally, it is in this same city that the National Foundation of Museums of Morocco announced in July 2018 the forthcoming opening of a museum dedicated to Moroccan Jewish memory: an ambitious project, but for the moment relatively mysterious. Moroccan Jews: thwarted destinies (2014) on Vimeo CIVIL SOCIETY IS MOBILIZING The Association of Friends of the Museum of Moroccan Judaism works to disseminate, inform and promote Moroccan Jewish heritage. For Jean Levy, treasurer of the association, there is an urgent need to “inform and pass the baton to the younger generations who lack knowledge and benchmarks regarding Moroccan Jewish heritage”. He underlines that “the role of civil society is to claim this theme and work on it” and criticizes a form of immobility within part of the Jewish community. The association, made up of both Jews and Muslims, conducted an investigation. Based on a sample of 401 young Moroccans aged 15 to 24, the survey revealed a lack of knowledge about cultural, linguistic and liturgical elements specific to Jewish culture. Jewish history is also absent from primary and secondary school textbooks. To remedy this situation, a project to produce and distribute entertaining and informative video capsules is underway – a format that clearly lends itself to a young and connected audience, the main target of this action. At the crossroads between a desire for information and a work of heritage conservation, researcher Vanessa Paloma Elbaz created Khoya, a project aimed at collecting and centralizing sound archives related to Jewish life in Morocco and making them available to the general public. public and the scientific community. For several years, she has been collecting interviews, musical and historical recordings, while setting up their digitization and classification. PURSUING CREATION Current political and memorial processes constantly question the experience and inclusion of the Jewish component in contemporary Morocco. And this curiosity for Jewish life is found in artistic fields. In the cinema, we discover the documentaries of Kamal Hachkar, the director of Tinghir-Jerusalem, the echoes of the mellah (2013), or even Younes Laghrari originally, with Simon Skira of Moroccan Jews: thwarted destinies (2014). In the continuity of films such as Where are you going Moshe? (2007) by Hassan Benjelloum, these works propelled the question of Jewish life in Morocco to the big screens. This creation goes beyond the borders of Morocco, reaching international audiences, little informed about the cultural diversity of the Maghreb. It was in 2016 that the first Jewish film festival was organized in Casablanca, followed by the Jewish-Moroccan Film Week in Berlin. On the music side, singers Maxime Karrouchi or, more recently, Malca continue to develop their careers in Morocco and internationally, while Faycal Azizi reclaims hits from traditional Moroccan Jewish music such as “Hak a mama”. Many other projects in progress bear witness to a desire to combine the transmission of cultural heritage and creation: this is the case of the Hafla, a cycle of evenings honoring Moroccan Judeo-Arab music, mainly active in Casablanca. . Finally, international artists are also taking up the theme. Most recently, the documentary and performative work Mellah by the Italian Alessio Mazzaro, focused on the question of memory within the Moroccan Jewish diaspora in France. Many initiatives serve the heritage of Moroccan Jewish culture and this subject remains crossed by many social, political and diplomatic issues. While Morocco and Israel do not maintain “official” diplomatic relations, a large part of the Moroccan Jewish diaspora resides in Israel and represents an important strategic and tourist interest. In general, the challenge of deploying these places, projects and festivals is considerable. At the level of the kingdom, these are part of a promising global dynamic of exploration and collective reflection on Moroccan history and multiple identity.


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