Jewish Maghrib Jukebox

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Mellah – September 7

We started with the Danan synagogue and the cemetery. In the cemetery I was hoping to meet Edmond, a Jewish resident of Fes who has seen much of the restoration of the mellah. Upon entering the synagogue I noticed the usual caretaker, who I had met a few years before, and another man who I presumed to be Edmond. Indeed it was Edmond and we exchanged some pleasantries in Hebrew. I decided to take a self-guided tour of the cemetery before returning to Edmond with questions. Perhaps he was going to show me some things I couldn’t access or wouldn’t be able to find. I toured the cemetery with much more of an appreciation of its layout then I had previously had. The sea of children’s graves, the result of an epidemic, was particularly sad. I visited more tombs of tzaddikim then I had the first time I was there and returned to talk to Edmond. But the caretaker told me he was gone, gone to Meknes, a large city close to Fes. I missed an opportunity but I knew I would be back. I asked the caretaker to take a look at my map to see if he could help. He wasn’t that helpful and instead passed me off to a would-be guide who said he knew the area intimately as he was born and raised in the mellah.

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