Jewish Morocco

Friday, November 7, 2008

Heading to Tagadirt – Oct 27

I headed to Tagadirt roughly the same way I came. On my way back I encountered a group of men and women doing laundry in the pool but the one of the many palmaries. They quickly offered me a cup of tea and I obliged having been trekking through the heat for hours. They also offered me a very large handful of fresh dates and nuts that I couldn’t figure out how to eat. This lived up to all my expectations of an oasis.

I entered the small village of Rahala and noticed the first taxi I had seen all day. I had been wandering through dirt streets surrounded by mud brick homes and a taxi just seemed sort of out of place. Even more out of place was the Obama ’08 sticker in his back window. I went up to the driver and asked him if he had lived in America or spoke English and he hadn’t and didn’t. He simply loved Obama. He then directed me to his front seat where an Obama hat sat on the dashboard. He then gave me a ride to Tagadirt and pointed out the adult Jewish cemetery that would have been slightly difficult to find without him. I thought if this isn’t inspiration I don’t know what is. A family pointed me to the cemetery. Graves were discernable but only a few really resembled finished graves. Only one had a Hebrew inscription on it but it was impossible to read as it had been broken and scattered.

I was approached by a tall teenager who wanted to show me the children’s cemetery and the synagogue. I was suspicious of him and have thus far relied on my instincts quite well. He rushed me out of the Jewish cemetery and towards the other Jewish cemetery, the one reserved for children. We walked into town to the mosque. Next to the mosque was a cemetery but it was clearly a Muslim cemetery. I told him that. He said that it was a Jewish cemetery. I pointed out why it wasn’t a Jewish cemetery (it should have been obvious to him) and then a boy of about 10 confirmed that I was right. Then they both took me to the mellah and to a serious of closed doors that I tried to open but couldn’t. The younger boy pointed out the Jewish school, “Mosque,” and oven. The oven door was open but I wasn’t exactly sure what I was looking at. I had been looking for a synagogue and the building I was in could have once been a synagogue but I will wait for confirmation from some friends. They again rushed me out of there. I was annoyed and couldn’t shake them. I then stumbled upon the Baal Hamaayan foundation that was the water source for the Jewish community in Tagadirt. One of the last buses was leaving soon and Akka was not the type of place you wanted to stay in over night. I thanked the boys but the older one insisted on walking me back to the original cemetery. I obliged and eventually headed back to Akka and caught a grand taxi back to Tata.

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