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Ceuta is a Spanish enclave on Moroccan soil. Many Moroccan Jews emigrated
through Ceuta and Melilia when licit immigration was constrained.
View of Jma’ el Fna, the market place and the Koutoubia in the background.
From the midst of palms, the Koutoubia minaret strives for the heights of the Atlas in snow. An ancient Jewish community lived in Marrakech, many among them Cohanim…
Marrakech view of the Atlas
South of Marrakech, on the Atlas Mountains, many Jews found refuge at one time or another, often living in small communities without the prescribed quorum for ‘minyan’ prayer.
Meknes was once the capital of Morocco. Here was born Rabbi David Hassine, one of the leading poet of the Moroccan Jewish Diaspora.
Casablanca is the largest city in Morocco. The economic capital attracted the largest Jewish community in Morocco. An estimated 1500 Jews lived there in the year 2000.
Fez populated an important Jewish community and was called ‘the city of the Jews’ at one time. Many Jewish refugees from Spain and Portugal found refuge here. About 160 Jews lived in Fez in 1999, still maintaining some of the most beautiful synagogues in the land, among them Ben Saadon Synagogue.
The Oudaya fort, Rabat
View from the Oudaya Rabat Old wall view
Rabat is the capital of Morocco. It is a combination of old and new. Here lies the king’s palace and here lived an important Jewish community, now almost non-existent.
Past Zagora in the Dra’ region, Erfoud in the Tafilalet or Goulimine South of Agadir, reigns the Sahara desert. Jews were once key players in the gold and silver markets in the deep South, beyond the Sahara dunes.
Across from Rabat lies Salé, now known for its pottery, it was a nest for pirates during the 16th century. A significant Jewish community thrived there and Rabbi Yehuda Ben Atar, author of ‘Or HaKhayim,’ lived among them.
An ancient port, mentioned as early as the 4th century BCE in relation to Cartage’s navigator Hannon. Tangier was an independent port from time to time, when not occupied by Berber chiefs or foreign occupiers, among them Romans (before and after BCE, Vandals (429 CE), Byzantium (533 CE) and Arabs since the 7th century (706 CE). It was an important commercial center in the 14th century and subject to occupation by Portugal (1437 CE) and Spain (1471 CE), international rule (1923 CE) and Moroccan rule since Morocco’s independence (1955).
A short kilometer from Ourzazate, the Kasbah of Taourirt was built of mud and straw. Some people still use this ancient building technique to build walls around their properties but few build their home with mud and straw. Many villages in the South were conglomerates of mud and straw houses. Some surrounded by fortified walls that survived centuries of tumultuous weather.
Tetouan is the capital of the Rif region, established in 1307, it combines hispano-mauresque roots, a reminder of the influx of Moslem and Jewish refugees following the reconquest of Spain by the Christians.
Ruins of the Basilica’s arcades after a recent reconstruction. Here lies the most ancient evidence that a Jewish community existed in Morocco since the Roman era.