Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Jews celebrate in Morocco

Jewish pilgrims from around the world gathered in several Moroccan cities to celebrate the Hiloula of rabbis, a religious and charitable custom, based on the Sephardic tradition of making auction bids for ornate candles believed to help strengthen the soul.

In the coastal city of Essaouira (442km south of Rabat), hundreds gathered on Friday to celebrate the hiloula of rabbi Nessim Ben Nessim. A reception ceremony was organized on Sunday, last day of the festival, attended by the King’s advisor, André Azoulay, himself a Moroccan Jew.

During this ceremony the pilgrims underlined the strong bonds uniting them to Morocco which they described as a country of openness and tolerance and their attachment to the Alaouite throne (dynasty of king Mohammed VI).

In the city of Settat (160 south of Rabat), members of the Jewish community celebrated the hiloula in the mausoleum of rabbi Abraham Aouriour.

The festival opened on Thursday and was marked by the organization on Sunday of a reception ceremony attended by Moroccan officials in the city.

Some 2,000 Moroccan Jews from all over the world also came to the city of Ouezzane (north) to celebrate the religious ceremony in the mausoleum of rabbi Amrane Ben Diwane.

Morocco counts about 5,000 Jews living throughout the country.


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