What makes Moroccan Jews unique is due to many factors:
- Unique forms of religious expression
- Political, social and economic relations among Moroccan Jews, Arabs and the Amazigh people
- Relationship with the monarchy
- European colonialism
- Creation of the state of Israel
- Massive emigration from the 1950’s through the 1970’s
- Interaction between Jews in Morocco and those in the diaspora
Here is your key to understanding Moroccan Jewish life, culture, history, relations with other Moroccans and emigration as well as the lives of Moroccan Jews around the world.
Map of Moroccan Jewish Communities in the Twentieth Century
Jews in Moroccan History
This section provides an overview of Moroccan Jewish history covering the following eras:
From the Beginning to the Arab Conquest
Arab and Amazigh Dynasties from the 7th to the 13th Century
Arab and Amazigh Dynasties from the 14th to the 17th Century
The Alaouite Dynasty
The European Intervention (1860’s)
The European Intervention (1870’s-1912)
The French Protectorate in Morocco (1912-1942)
The French Protectorate in Morocco (1942-1956) The Spanish Protectorate in Morocco (1912-1956)
Independent Morocco under King Mohammed V (1956-1961)
Morocco under King Hassan II (1961-1999)
Morocco under King Mohammed VI (1999-Present)
Role of Jews in Moroccan Society
Jews have been a vital part of Moroccan society ever since they arrived over 2,000 years ago. Each time a new people extended their power over Morocco, Jews were called upon to carry out important commercial, financial and diplomatic functions. For this reason, Moroccan Jews generally felt “at home” in their country and welcomed Jewish refugees from other countries into their communities, except during periods of insecurity.
Moroccan Jewish Culture
Over 2,000 years, Moroccan Jews have integrated the cultures of Moroccan Arab and Amazigh peoples, Muslims and Christians, European colonizers and Jews from Spain and the Middle East. This section introduces you to Moroccan Jews’ art and handicrafts, language, literature, film portrayals, music, cuisine, religious practices, gender relations, occupations and professions and community life.
Jewish Emigration from Morocco
Why did almost the entire Jewish community leave Morocco between 1950 and 1970, given that Jews have lived in Morocco for over 2,000 years? In 1950, there were 250,000 – 300,000 Jews. In 1971, there were 35,000. Today, there are less than 5,000. What forces were so powerful that they could cause a people to give up its homeland and much of its culture within such a short period of time?
MOROCCAN JEWISH DIASPORA
The emigration of Moroccan Jews led to the development of large diaspora communities, each of which seeks to maintain ties with Morocco and celebrate Moroccan Jewish culture. This section explores Moroccan Jewish diaspora communities in Israel, France, Canada, the United States and Latin America.