Jewish Maghrib Jukebox

Friday, November 7, 2008

Essaouira: Part II – Oct 20

I had asked my friend the previous night if I could shadow him as he gave a tour to an elderly couple from Australia. I woke up and met them at the Jewish cemetery and from there we headed to the second cemetery just across the road. This cemetery contained the grave of Haim Pinto, a tzaddik whose annual hilloula draws thousands from across the world. From there we headed to the Haim Pinto synagogue in the mellah which has been restored by the Pinto family and is one of the few well signposted Jewish sites in all of Morocco. Inside we met a lovely Jewish couple from Seattle. We ended up walking through the mellah together, passing the last Jewish shop in Essaouira (there are 4 Jews left in Essaouira), the outside of the Attias Synagogue (closed for restoration since 1993) and having a drink together in the main square. My friend then continued his trip and I for the first time played the part of tour guide. I took the Seattle couple to take a look at the Jewish cemetery (which they hadn’t seen) back through the mellah and for a fresh fish lunch. They were so excited and so interested and I only wish I had met them earlier to give them a tour of all that I had seen.

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