Saturday, January 19, 2013

Cultural Tour of the Fez Jewish Quarter

Outside Bab Semmarine in the Mellah 

The ancient Jewish quarter or Mellah of Fez is one of the oldest in Morocco. Although no Jews still live there, its rich history and different style of architecture are well worth exploring. The Mimouna Club of Fez is offering a Cultural Tour of the Mellah of Fez on Sunday January 27th, which they describe as "a tour of learning, discovery and understanding". 

"We invite Moroccans and non-Moroccans to take this trip to the past of Moroccan Judaism in the city of Fez which was once known as the city of Jews," says Youness Abeddour, the president of the Mimouna Club. He explains that the Club first started on April 2007 at Al Akhawayne University in Ifrane, and the Fez chapter was launched last June. 2012. "It's a non-profit organisation that seeks to educate the Moroccan people about the Moroccan Jewish Culture and to encourage harmony between Jews and Muslims in Morocco," he says.

Main street of the Fez Mellah, showing unusual exterior balconies
The Cultural Tour of the Mellah on January 27th includes a visit to the Jewish cemetery where grand rabbis are buried. "We will meet with the caretaker of the cemetery and the curator of the small museum in the edge of the cemetery, Mr. Edmond Gabbay," says Youness. "Then we will head to the 17th century synagogue, Aben Danan synagogue. It is now World Heritage listed. The caretaker of the synagogue, Omar, is a Moroccan Muslim. From there, we will continue our walk to synagogue El Fassiyeen, a recently restored synagogue by the Moroccan Jewish museum of Casablanca."

Participants in the last tour in the Fez Mellah
Last time they ran this tour, "We visited the tombs of the Grand Rabbis, and of the famous Sol Hatzadikah. After telling her story, they did not hesitate to light candles and show respect to her spirit. Learning about the tradition of putting a stone on the tombs to mark one’s visit, they put some olives on the tomb of Benjamine Serero, the Jew who was murdered in the Mellah, and on the tomb of the well-known Jewish lady, Solika, who chose to live in the Mellah until she died few months ago.”

Youness Abeddour will be leading the tour and emphasises that questions are welcome.

What: Cultural Tour of the Mellah of Fez
When: January 27th at 10 AM.
Meet: Main gate of the Mellah
Cost: 30 dhs.


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Anonymous said...

Il y beaucoup de "langue de bois" quand on affirme que l'harmonie régnait entre population musulmane et juifs de Fès. Il serait instructif de lire les ouvrages publiés par des historiens juifs pour mieux cerner la réalité fort complexe de ces rapports entre les deux communautés.
Quelques références bibliographiques ici:

mrmorocco said...

Merci pour votre commentaire. Je vous invite de regarder ce documentaire:


Youness Abeddour