Jewish Maghrib Jukebox

Monday, September 1, 2008

Shabbat in Rabat

It wasn’t too difficult to find Shabbat services in Rabat. I hoped online and found the address of the Talmud Thora synagogue and a picture of it from the outside. At 6.30 I headed to the building. I knew from the picture that I had found it. It is a nondescript white building. At the top of staircase sits a security guard. I asked him if this was a synagogue, if there were services tonight, and what time they started. Yes, yes, and 7.30. Would I have any problem getting in? No, he said. You are Jewish right? Yes, I said. I came back at 7 .30. From the outside I could see there were lights on in the synagogue. Esther Perez, an octogenarian who was entering the building, greeted us with her name and a Shabbat Shalom. A man walked in as the same time as us and showed us the way. The synagogue was nice, clean, and modern. There were approximately 25 men there, including me, ranging from 8 to 80 years old. It was a beautiful service. During Lcha Dodi, the men (and little boy) took turns singing. Everyone sang the chorus. I was familiar with the melody and the whole service put me at ease. I felt comfortable and at home. After the service I wished everyone a Shabbat Shalom. A young man, probably about 20, seemed to be out of place like me. Where you from? I asked. Meknes, he said. How many Jews still live there? 150, no more like 100, he said. He was probably one of the youngest members of the community and I was glad to have met him, Charles/Shalom. He was visiting Rabat with his mom and his sister although I couldn’t figure out why exactly. He asked where we lived and if we were walking home. I told him that unfortunately we had a very long walk ahead of us and we parted ways. The rest of the night we strolled through the old city, which had totally come alive. As I strolled down the small alleyways I hummed to myself Lcha Dodi and felt good.

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