Jews Under Moroc­can Skies: Two Thou­sand Years of Jew­ish Life

Raphael David Elmaleh and George Ricketts
  • Review
By – June 19, 2013

Elmaleh and Rick­etts pro­vide us with a com­pact pop­u­lar sur­vey of Jew­ish life in Moroc­co. The book includes a glos­sary, short rec­om­mend­ed read­ings, an index, and some pho­tographs (though not always close to the rel­e­vant descrip­tion of the place). The book has three sec­tions. The first is a very basic sur­vey of the his­to­ry of the Jews in Moroc­co, includ­ing a note on the Jew­ish Muse­um in Casablan­ca, which tries to gath­er objects relat­ed to Jew­ish Moroc­can life. The sec­ond sec­tion, Jew­ish Moroc­co by region,” describes the var­i­ous com­mu­ni­ties which exist­ed or still exist in Moroc­co. Thus, in addi­tion to his­tor­i­cal infor­ma­tion, some data regard­ing the cur­rent con­di­tion is pro­vid­ed, includ­ing the size of the com­mu­ni­ty. The third sec­tion focus­es on saint wor­ship­ing, beliefs, cus­toms, feasts, and food. There are many pub­li­ca­tions which pro­vide much bet­ter infor­ma­tion and analy­sis regard­ing the first and third sec­tions. I find the major con­tri­bu­tion of this book’s in the sec­ond sec­tion, which pro­vides the read­er with some first-hand infor­ma­tion on the cur­rent con­di­tion of Jews in Moroc­co. Thus, it might be help­ful for those inter­est­ed in data on cur­rent Jew­ish life in Moroc­co, or for peo­ple plan­ning to vis­it Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ties and sites in Morocco.

Rachel Simon, a librar­i­an at Prince­ton Uni­ver­si­ty, does research on Jews in the mod­ern Mid­dle East and North Africa, with spe­cial ref­er­ence to Libya, Ottoman Empire, women, and education.

Discussion Questions