Jewish Maghrib Jukebox

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ready for Restoration - Synagogues in Er Rachidia and Oujda - Part II

Bima/Hechal in Grand Synagogue, Oujda.

I have written much already about Oujda and you can read that here. As the Grand Synagogue, also known as the Moroccan Synagogue as there was also an Algerian Synagogue, turns 80 this year (built in 1930), I thought I would take this occasion to revisit it. The Grand Synagogue is in remarkable condition despite having no congregants. It was once well served by a population of thousands. According to H.Z. Hirschberg's Hebrew language "Inside Maghreb: the Jews in North Africa", Oujda's Jewish population stood at around 4,000 by the mid-1950s. You can read more about the modern Jewish history of Oujda here. Today there are three to six Jews left. The synagogue is a perfect candidate for restoration as I've explained in the past and should be considered as one of the more beautiful, large North African synagogues that has not been converted to other purposes (e.g., mosque). I am including photos from my 2009 visit below:

Stained glass ark.

View of hekhal, main seating area, women's gallery and ark.

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