The Departure of Casablanca’s Moroccan Jewish Community

The old city, located in Casablanca, represented the jewel of the Moroccan crown for decades. It was adorned with historical buildings. These buildings embodied the reality of coexistence between Jews and Muslims during the years of French protection. This period included a generation of young people with diverse backgrounds and shared goals.

Uncover Casablanca’s clothing history at vintage stores, experience the city’s diversity at Asian shops and supermarkets, like Derb Omar

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Moroccan Jewish

The Old City’s Significance

The Mellah, nestled in the heart of the old city, is Casablanca’s Jewish quarter. It stands as a testament to the enduring presence and cultural richness of the city’s Jewish inhabitants. This historic enclave’s bustling alleys echo traditions from the past, intertwining deeply with Casablanca’s vibrant history.

This exploration delves into Casablanca’s mosaic of history. It traces the footsteps of the Jewish community through the Mellah’s labyrinthine streets and beyond. From their settlement origins to an indelible imprint on the city’s identity. This narrative illuminates Casablanca’s evolution and the interwoven Jewish heritage within its historical fabric.

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Historical Coexistence and Neighborhood Unity

Historically, the antique city of Casablanca exuded a sense of tolerance and cultural cohesion. This was due to the “spiritual purity” and “moral serenity” characterizing the relationship between the Jewish and Muslim sects, notably represented through the ghetto known as “Al-Mallah neighborhood,” which served as the beating heart of the city.

Cultural Contributions and Unity Among Sects

According to historical accounts, during the Almohad and Almoravid periods, the “Al-Mallah neighborhood” functioned as a market for salting the heads of rebels, displayed in public places by the Jews to deter rebellious tendencies among others. However, by the early twentieth century, the Jewish quarter was established in “Bab Marrakesh” within the old city.

Casablanca ancient city

Hassan Larous, a researcher in Jewish history born in the old city of Casablanca in the thirties of the last century, notes that “most houses were shared between Muslims and Jews, fostering neighborhood unity and coexistence.” He further mentions that “some young Jews, despite being in the minority, would clandestinely join their young Muslim friends to smoke cigarettes on Saturdays, as smoking was forbidden for them throughout the day.”

In his work titled “The Old City of Casablanca: Memory and Heritage,” the author elaborates on how a group of Jewish singers, including Selim Lahlali, Sami al-Maghribi, and Albert Suissa, contributed to the interconnection and cohesion between the two sects. Their songs among the popular classes garnered wide national resonance.

Jewish community Casablanca

The Tragic End of Coexistence

However, the story of coexistence and harmony between Jews and Muslims in the old city met an unexpected and tragic end. Sultan Mehmed V’s denial propelled Moroccans to resort to armed struggle, first to pressure France for the sultan’s return from exile and later to achieve the kingdom’s independence.

Catastrophic Events Unravel

This historical period culminated in a catastrophic event on Thursday, 14 July 1954. A bomb detonated inside a European-owned wine bar, the Great Café of Mers Sultan, resulting in casualties among the French presence. The French swiftly responded by setting fire to Moroccan-owned stores in the “Derb Omar” square, prompting demonstrations from both the old city and adjacent areas.

Escalating Tensions and Demonstrations Forced Exodus from the Old City

During this tumultuous period, a group of extremist Jews reportedly joined the French, leading to heightened tensions. Consequently, some hard-line individuals attacked and burned homes belonging to Jews. This compelled all the Jews to abandon their residences, seeking refuge outside the walls of the city, leaving behind neighborhoods like al-Tanakir, al-Shalouh Mosque, Safi Safi, and the Red Cross, particularly the western part.

Discovering Casablanca’s Jewish Heritage: Tailored Tours for a Cultural Journey

Embark on an unforgettable journey through Casablanca and its surroundings with an experienced travel advisor, certified tour guide, and skilled driver.

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Discover the richness of Moroccan heritage, culture, and history through meticulously crafted tours. Whether by car or on foot, spanning a day or more.

Explore the hidden gems and iconic landmarks of Casablanca, led by a seasoned guide well-versed in the city’s narratives. Delve into the vibrant tapestry of markets, ancient streets, and historical districts, gaining insights into the diverse culture and traditions of Casablanca.

For more details about the tailored circuits and immersive experiences I offer, feel free to reach out. Experience the enchantment of Morocco with personalized tours. Allowing you to immerse yourself in the beauty and allure of this captivating land.”

Uncover Casablanca’s vibrant tapestry through guided tours. From vintage stores unveiling clothing history to vibrant markets like Derb Omar, where the city’s diverse communities and rich heritage come alive. Immerse yourself in the essence of Casablanca’s cultural fusion. expand your exploration to embrace the broader Moroccan narrative awaiting discovery.

هسبريس – مصطفى شاكري الاثنين 24 فبراير 2020 – 12:00 How the Moroccan Jewish community left the walls of Casablanca ancient city

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