I headed back to town. There is no mellah in Oujda but certainly a Jewish area. It was there I began my search for the last half dozen Jewish women in Oujda – one of whom I hoped had the key to synagogue. I knocked at the door and a woman answered.
Who am I? I thought. How would I explain that I wanted to see the synagogue because I wanted to see the synagogue? That I hoped to help restore it.
The synagogue in question is known as the Grand Synagogue. It was the pride of Oujda Jewish community and supposedly could accomodate some 700 worshippers.
I told her who I was as best I could. Hag Sameah I said to her. I told her who I knew as best I could. Baruch hashem I said after another remark. I was sure I would be kicked to the curb but I wasnt. She told me that khubz (bread) was haram (forbidden) during Passover. Of course I said. I had matzah in my hotel. She invited me in for coffee and matzah.
After some conversation and vetting from her and a second Jewish woman they agreed to show me the synagogue. Wow.