Morocco was once home to the largest Jewish community in any Arab country. In the mid-20th century more than 250,000 Jews resided there, but between the 1950s and 1970s the majority of them left for Israel, Europe, and North America. Today, about 2500 Jews are still living in Morocco, most of them in Casablanca.
For the last twenty years there has been a growing interest in Moroccan Judaism. Young Muslim Moroccans are rediscovering the Jewish heritage in their country, and the descendants of Jewish Moroccan emigrants are retracing the histories of their parents and grandparents and exploring the traditions, narratives, and music of this long ignored culture.
The film week “My heart in the Maghreb” presents a variety of perspectives on Moroccan Judaism, with feature and documentary films from France, Canada, Israel, and especially from Morocco itself, most of these films being shown in Germany for the first time. All the films will be shown in the original language with English subtitles, and following the screenings the film directors will be present to answer questions in English.
8 May 2016, 3 p.m.
Jews among Muslims: The Transformation of the Jewish Communities of Morocco in the Modern Era
Introductory talk with Daniel J. Schroeter
Jews have lived in the area referred to today as Morocco at least since Roman times – that is, since before the arrival of Arabs and Islam. This talk will give a historical overview of the relationship between Jews and Muslims in Morocco. The focus of the talk will be the diverse transformation processes which the Jewish communities went through in modern times, having been impacted by European influences, colonialism, Arab nationalism, Zionism, as well as mass emigration in the second half of the 20th century.
Daniel Schroeter is Professor of Jewish History at the University of Minnesota and the author of many works on Moroccan Judaism and on the relationship between Jews and Muslims. His publications include “The Sultan’s Jew: Morocco and the Sephardi World” (2002), “Merchants of Essaouira: Urban Society and Imperialism in Southwestern Morocco, 1844-1886” (1988) and (as co-editor) “Jewish Culture and Society in North Africa” (2011).
8 May 2016, 7 p.m.
Neta Elkayam: Howa Jani
A Jewish-Arab opening concert
The Israeli singer Neta Elkayam comes from a Moroccan-Jewish family. Her music project “Howa Jani”, named after one of her songs, unites elements of traditional Arab and North African music with Andalusian sounds and develops them further with new compositions. Her music has been inspired especially by the divas of classical Arab music. Neta Elkayam’s songs, sung in Moroccan Arabic, build bridges between Jews and Muslims, between North Africa, the Middle East, and Europe.
Further information on the concert in our calender of events
Further information about the artist:http://www.netaelkayam.com/
When 8–12 May 2016
Where W. Michael Blumenthal Academy, Hall; concert: Glass Courtyard
Admission free; concert: 10 euros, reduced rate 7 euros
Please note All events will be held in English
The film week will be accompanied by an introductory historical talk and a closing panel on the culture of memory and Jewish life in Morocco today (both in English). The week will be opened with a concert by the Jewish singer Neta Elkayam, who discovered her own roots in traditional Arab melodies and carries on this Moroccan Jewish cultural heritage with her own original songs.
8 May 2016, 4.30 p.m.
Tinghir-Jerusalem. Echoes from the Mellah
“Tinghir-Jérusalem. Les échos du Mellah”
Director: Kamal Hachkar, Documentary, France 2012, 87 minutes
French, Tamazight, Arabic, and Hebrew with English subtitles
Filmmaker Kamal Hachkar was born in the Moroccan town Tinghir and grew up in France. Not until later in life did he discover that his place of birth was home to a large Jewish community until the 1960s. In order to trace the forgotten history of Jews in Tinghir, Hachkar travelled to Morocco and Israel. Interviews with historians, with the people involved at the time and with their descendants bring the shared past of Tinghir’s Jews and Muslims to life as people who were connected by a common language and identity as Imazighen (Berbers).
Q & A with director Kamal Hachkar after the screening.