In thinking of all we learned and listened to during our trip, it is amazing that the Jewish history in Morocco covers almost 3,000 years! That’s 3 millennia! - a time to develop culture, history, and roots. Of course, there were good and bad years (as there were for other populations that make up Morocco), yet Jews were part of all of society’s classes - from advisors to royalty to builders of cities to working class. The modern history of Jews and Muslims in Morocco is unfortunately influenced by colonialism, post-colonialism, and the impacts that came with emigration- and many Muslims emigrated too for economic reasons to Europe where they encounter anti-Muslim sentiment as much as Jews encounter anti-Jewish bigotry. In fact, it seems like our Sisterhood philosophy would serve some of these displaced populations well - to bring together religious minorities to learn each other’s stories from each other’s eyes to show the way for peace.
Leaving Morocco of today, we were all taken by the real nostalgia of both Jews and Muslims we met who looked back on the time when Jews were commonly part of daily life. Despite the Jewish minority today, they continue to play important roles in government and finance. Indeed, the preamble of the constitution provides an amazing statement of diversity and promotion of dialogue- a statement the likes of which are not seen in any other constitution we are aware of: “…Its unity, is forged by the convergence of its Arab- Islamic, Amazigh and Saharan-Hassanic components, nourished and enriched by its African, Andalusian, Hebraic and Mediterranean influences. The preeminence accorded to the Muslim religion in the national reference is consistent with the attachment of the Moroccan people to the values of openness, of moderation, of tolerance and of dialogue for mutual understanding between all the cultures and the civilizations of the world.”
Ramesh, Lisa, and I choose not to be cynical about the inevitable mismatches of aspiration and reality that arise from politics - rather we leave impressed with the Moroccan people’s openness and welcoming, grateful for this experience and travel, and inspired by Mohamed V’s statement- “we are all Moroccan here.”
Anne Kjemtrup, Lisa Breslau, Ramesh Sinaee