If you have read the article about my Top 8 Attractions in Casablanca, you might have noticed that I’ve ranked the Jewish Museum at 6. However, I haven’t been there yet but due to reviews and great feedback from other visitors I felt like I had to include it in the Top 8 and visit it later and give my feedback about it. Today, I’m in Casablanca. Great opportunity to see this cultural attraction just few steps from my house…
The Moroccan Jewish Museum is well-known to be the only Jewish Museum in the Arab World. By being home for both muslims and jews since many years the Kingdom of Morocco gives an exceptional example of coexistence and tolerance across the globe. Therefore, this museum clearly shows that Muslims and Jews live happily together in Morocco under the same culture, the same language and the same rights.
Back in 2012 when I first knew about this museum during ‘Les Journées du Patrimoine de Casablanca’, I always wanted to go there and approach the Moroccan Jewish culture and know about it. I’m born during a time when only few Jews are left in the country mainly in big cities. Most of Moroccan Jews are now living in Israel, Europe and North America. But let’s get back to the very beginning…
The first Jews migrated to Morocco after the destruction of the first temple in Jerusalem. They settled with Berbers. Both some of the very first people to settle down in Morocco, creating a rich Amazigh and Hebraic culture and traditions that all Moroccans perpetuate up till now. The King of Morocco, Mohammed VI, cited these roots during his 2011 historical speech as well as in the 2011 Constitution.
At the entrance of the museum, I met Zhor who warmly welcomed me and my friend. She is the curator of the museum so I was happy to receive all great information from her. During my visit, the museum has a temporary exhibition from artist Victor Mamane. His exhibition is interesting and yet very flashy without forgetting to include messages of peace and coexistence.
The other rooms of the museum are permanent exhibitions that highlight the cultural aspects and traditions of Moroccan Jews. Some rare and exclusive objects are exposed there such as sepher torahs, tefillins, Hannukkah’s menorahs, Bar Mitzvah bags, circumcision chair and many more.
Moreover, there is a part that shows the bride’s clothes such as traditional Moroccan caftan worn by both Jew and Muslim brides. Most of the items exhibited in this museum are donations from families or the Moroccan Foundation of Jewish Cultural Heritage that highly support this museum and the whole Jewish heritage. The premises used to be an orphanage built in 1948 to preserve Jewish children, later in 1997 proudly opens the first museum in Casablanca but also the first and only Jewish Museum in the Arab World until now.
In another section of the museum, I have seen some amazing reconstitutions of synagogues of Meknes that is very traditional and another one from Larache that is rather more European. I really liked the Meknes’s small synagogue as well as an Amoud from Tetouan that I didn’t miss to snap a souvenir picture with it.
More information about Moroccan Jewish Museum here: http://casajewishmuseum.com/
Tonight, I will be heading to South America for the first time. I will spend few days in São Paulo and perhaps elsewhere in Brazil. Stay tuned, follow my adventures on Twitter too and like my page on Facebook. And don’t forget to vote for my blog at the Maroc Web Awards and the UK Blog Awards 2014.