The mellah at Marrakesh
Almost a million Israelis - that's about one-in-seven - are of Moroccan Jewish descent. Israel has the second largest Moroccan diaspora (regardless of religion) after France.
Once Morocco had the largest Jewish population in the Islamic world - a community pre-dating the coming of Islam and indeed Christianity.
And today? There are about 2,000 Jews still living in Morocco - mainly in the commercial capital, Casablanca.
But this synagogue I visited recently is in Marrakesh - with a history dating back several centuries to the expulsion of Jews from Spain. It's just by the royal palace in a district known as the 'mellah', the name for a walled Jewish enclave ... to be found not just here but also in Casablanca, Fez and Tangiers.
This is one of the very few synagogues in Morocco which is still in use. I asked how many people attend sabbath services. 'Beaucoup', I was told. 'Plenty'. But on enquiring further, I was told maybe 20, or 15 or 10. So it's just keeping going.
The Laazama synagogue itself is small and dignified, with a pleasant courtyard. There's a small display about the history of the community and an array of religious items.
The area round the synagogue is a maze of narrow alleyways. The synagogue itself gets a steady stream of visitors - but otherwise this is not a tourist district at all, even though it's so central, but a working class residential area.
If you ever get to Marrakesh, do pop by!
ks for sharing the article, and more importantly, your personal experience mindfully using our emotions as data about our inner state and knowing when it’s better to de-escalate by taking a time out are great tools. Appreciate you dcfdeveqfreading and sharing your story since I can certainly relate and I think others can to
Leave a Reply.
Andrew Whitehead's blog
Welcome - read - comment - throw stones - pick up threads - and tell me how to do this better!