Jewish Maghrib Jukebox

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Jew in Us - At the heart of Moroccan identity

"The origins of our flag

The original flag of Morocco, first used in the 10th century by the Almoravid Ruler Youssef ibn Tachfine, was white ... without any ornament. Three centuries later the Merinid dynasty added the seal of David, a star with six branches. Even if today, "the Star of David" is universally regarded as the hallmark of the Jewish people (it appears on the flag of Israel), we must remember that David, or Daoud, is a biblical prophet, revered as much by Jews than Muslims. So without discomfort or ambiguity the Merinides chose the six pointed star for their emblem…The currency in use in Morocco also remained until the early twentieth century the six pointed star." (My partial translation)

As I left Morocco last year (November 2008) I grabbed a few magazines and newspapers at the airport. I was blessed with the above article about Jewish identity as Moroccan identity. I meant to scan the article and post but never did. I have included the cover of the Tel Quel issue above and a partial translation of the opening paragraph. A Google translation of the article can be found here.

Indeed there was a time when the flag of Morocco and the currency of Morocco both displayed the seal of Solomon or Star of David.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Silent Prayer

Interior, Grand Synagogue in Oujda

Prayer and Hebrew books, Grand Synagogue in Oujda

(c) Chris Silver

Diagramming Oujda

Today, from the outside the Grande Synagogue in Oujda is still noticeably a synagogue with two stained glass Star of Davids and a sign above the entrance that reads Beit T'fila or House of Prayer. The synagogue is here and you can see in the Wikimapia link that a former Jewish school lies just north of the synagogue on the map.