Moroccan Judaism: A Culture in Danger

— by Youness Abeddour

Moroccan Judaism is a culture in danger. What was once a key part of Moroccan culture and society is now being forgotten and many people in Morocco do not even know that Jews still live among them. There is much confusion and even resentment caused by the massive Jewish immigration to Israel and many people now confuse terms such as Judaism and Zionism. This confusion and lack of information has caused many people to forget or to even look negatively on a people who were once their neighbors and a culture that is even now intricately a part of their own. This film seeks to resolve the confusion and to educate people about this history of a culture which cannot be separated from Moroccan culture as a whole.

More after the jump.
This documentary film, about 30 minutes, started as a university project. We had to produce a documentary film after finishing two semesters of “Documentary Filmmaking: Theory and Practice” at the university of Fez. Since I have been working on topics related to Moroccan Judaism since 2009, when I got my B.A. it was an automatic choice to work this time on an audio-visual project. The choice of the title came only in the last phases of the documentary. I wrote a proposal to the professor about what I intend to do in this film. It was accepted. Then I started shooting with a humble camera: Canon 12 Pixel HD. I travelled to different cities to have interviews with scholars on the field, including Casablanca in the Jewish museum where I filmed with the late Simon Levy. After I finished the interview with him, he invited me to project the documentary once it is finished in the Jewish Museum. Unfortunately he passed away before watching the final product. The reason why I decided to dedicate it to his eternal memory. Simon Levy, for those who don’t know, was the director of the Jewish Museum of Casablanca, the only in the Arab World. Not only that, but he had been an inspiration for me personally. He is one of a kind and his loss was very hard. I loved him like a father and him like a son. I am currently planning to project the documentary in the Jewish Museum as an hommage for him.

Youness Abeddour was born in 1989 in Fez City, Morocco. He obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in English Studies in 2009.  He completed a thesis on “The Presence of the Mellah in Morocco” and a Master’s Degree in 2012, as well as a Cultural Studies Major, with a thesis on “The representation of Moroccan Jews in Moroccan Cinema.” Youness Abeddour is the president of Mimouna Club of Fez. Mimouna Club is a non-profit organization that seeks to educate the Moroccan people about the Moroccan Jewish Culture and to encourage harmony between Jews and Muslims in the Moroccan context. Mr. Abeddour has been involved in Peace and Interfaith discussions in Morocco and Israel.

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