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Jews and Muslims in Morocco


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Table of Contents



Section 1. Political and Social Interactions

Chapter 1: Refuge in Morocco after 1492: From Iberian Outcast to Moroccan Dhimmi

Jane S. Gerber

Chapter 2: Jews and the Moroccan Monarchy in the Age of Imperialism

Daniel J. Schroeter

Chapter 3: Sultan Sidi Mohammed ben Youssef and the Jews of Morocco During the Second World War: New Discoveries

Joseph Chetrit

Chapter 4: Centering the Margin: Family Networks, Occupational Mobility and Saharan Jews

Aomar Boum

Chapter 5: Jewish Bodies, Muslim Bodies, and French Medicine in Morocco

Jonathan G. Katz

Section 2. Cultural Commonalities

Chapter 6: Sebaa Ouled Ben Zmirou in Jewish and Muslim Contexts: Return to the Dead and Encounters After Death

José Alberto Rodrigues da Silva Tavim

Chapter 7: Invisible Neighbors: Demonology Between Jews and Muslims in Morocco

Noam Sienna

Chapter 8: A Common Language: Popular Music in Morocco

Vanessa Paloma Elbaz

Chapter 9: The Aḥwash: Articulations of a Shared Amazigh (Berber) Cultural Tradition in Morocco and its Diaspora

Sarah Levin

Section 3. Religious Traditions and Halakhic Developments

Chapter 10: Liturgy: An Overlooked Space in the Moroccan Jewish Musical Map

Edwin Seroussi

Chapter 11: The Image of Morocco in the Poetry of R. David Ben Ḥassin (1727-1792)

André Elbaz

​Chapter 12: Muslims and Christians in the Writings of 20th Century Hakhamim of Morocco

David Moshe Biton

Chapter 13: Traveling Between Place and Faith: Moroccan Jews Migrating to the Holy Land in the Nineteenth Century

Michal Ben Ya’akov

Chapter 14: Takkanot Concerning the Inheritances of Wives and Daughters among Moroccan Rabbis in the 15th – 20th Centuries

Moche Amar

Chapter 15: Rabbi Refael ben Dva”sh: Precursor of Moroccan Legal Activity

Elimelech (Melech) Westreich

Section 4. Memoirs in Word and Image

Chapter 16: Memories of Jewish-Muslim Coexistence in the New Mellaḥ of Meknes and Jewish Heritage Conservation in Post-Colonial Morocco

Ahmed Chouari

Chapter 17: Growing up in the Mellaḥ of Taroudant: Spaces, Time, Acquaintances and Rupture. A Memoir with Two Poems

Joseph Chetrit

Chapter 18: Delacroix and the Jews of Morocco

Maurice Arama

Photo Essay

About the Contributors

About the Author

Drora Arussy is director of the American Sephardi Federation Institute of Jewish Experience.

Joseph Chetrit is professor emeritus of socio-pragmatics, French linguistics, and Judeo-Arabic linguistics at the University of Haifa.

Jane S. Gerber is professor emerita of history and founder and director of the Institute for Sephardic Studies at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.


Capturing the dialectics and historical vicissitudes of Jewish-Muslim relations in Morocco in all their intricacy and multivocality is a challenging project. This comprehensive volume, which brings together the contributions of 18 leading scholars from a wide gamut of disciplines, faces up to this challenge admirably.
*Yoram Bilu, Hebrew University*

This volume weaves a rich tapestry of Jewish life in Morocco in pre-colonial, colonial, and post-colonial times. Topics include the role played by Jewish exiles from the Iberian Peninsula; Jewish-Muslim relations; and interaction with the French during the Protectorate (1912–1956). Developments in popular religion, folklore, poetry, music, liturgy, and law make this volume a fascinating introduction to the history and culture of this important and diverse community in the Islamic world.
*Mark R. Cohen, Princeton University*

Two thrusts have enriched the study of North African Jewish communities in recent decades. One is the deepening grasp of how scholarly, mystical, and liturgical developments in other Jewish centers were absorbed, preserved, and cultivated in the Maghreb. Second is the expanding appreciation of how Muslim society—both as the empowered majority and as quotidian neighbors—interpenetrated Jewish life. Jews and Muslims in Morocco weaves together these perspectives, providing a striking tapestry that both enhances our knowledge and invites continued research.
*Harvey Goldberg, Hebrew University*

This collection of studies by some of the world’s leading scholars from a variety of disciplines offers a wide-ranging peregrination through Moroccan Jewish history and culture and its intricate and complex connection with the surrounding Islamic Arab and Berber cultural matrix. Readers are provided with in-depth, nuanced expositions of social and political interaction between Moroccan Jews and non-Jews and their shared cultural elements of language, literature, music, and popular beliefs and practices. It is a welcome addition to the growing literature on what was once the world’s largest non-Ashkenazi Jewish community with a unique and rich cultural heritage.
*Noam (Norman) A. Stillman, University of Oklahoma*

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