“A struggle against oblivion”

Keeping the blessing memory of the “Judería de Sevilla” alive is a way to honor the 4000 Jewish souls who perished due to the massacre of 1391.

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La judería de Sevilla nowadays. Photo courtesy of Lajuderiadesevilla.com

“La judería de Sevilla” was a Jewish ghetto in Seville in which Jews lived from the reconquest of Seville, by Ferdinand III of Castile, until their forced exile under the Edict of Granada, issued by the Catholic Monarchs. Nowadays, it includes the neighborhoods of San Bartolomé and Santa Cruz.

What if we went backtrack a tad? The city of Seville was conquered in 1248 by the king Fernando III of Castile. …


“The Jews of Cordoba also settled in other parts of the city”

Located in the heart of Cordoba, a famous Jewish quarter is, since 1994, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Photo courtesy of la Junta de Andalucía

As soon as you enter this historic neighborhood, the typical Islamic pattern jumps out, thanks to two central cross streets leading to a labyrinth of alleys that end in dead ends. The Almodovar Gate takes you to the Mosque — Cathedral and the current Episcopal See. And yet, we are truly in a Jewish neighborhood. We are in the core of the Jewry of Cordoba.

Once you have walked along Rey Heredia Street, the Jewish streets Albucasis, Juda Levi and Maimónides plunge us into the heart of the rich Jewish memory of Andalusia. …


Morocco’s Jewish heritage is in good hands

Reestablishing relations between Morocco and Israel can only be beneficial for both countries. Such optimistic words are from Paul Dahan, an iconic symbol of the preservation of Belgium’s Jewish heritage.

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© Paul Dahan, a messenger of Moroccan Jewish heritage

Speaking to the Moroccan press, Paul Dahan, psychoanalyst and president of the Center for Jewish-Moroccan Culture in Belgium said that the official resumption of contacts that will promote mutual enrichment.

This native of Fez, whose parents are from Rissani, considers that beyond the media and political uproar that this restoration of relations creates, there is a continuity and evidence of regaining this physical attachment to the Moroccan territory, because the Jews of Morocco have always considered themselves as Moroccans and Moroccans have always considered them as part of themselves. …


The President of the Jewish Museum of Belgium welcomes the resumption of Israeli-Moroccan relations, which he describes as wholesome and unifying.

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The first commercial flight between Israel and Morocco. Photo courtesy of MAP.

Rebuilding relations between Israel and Morocco under the aegis of the United States is a positive step in the service of peace and harmony between the two sides, Philippe Blondin, President of the Jewish Museum of Belgium, stated on Thursday.

“ It is a great pleasure for me to learn this good news which makes us all happy in the gloom of the end of the year,” P. Blondin said in a speech to the MAP.

He highlighted the centuries-long ties between Moroccan Jews, as well as their common history and culture.

He referred in this context to the heroic gesture of the late HM Mohammed V who opposed the introduction of anti-Jewish laws during the Vichy regime and refused to hand over the list of Moroccan citizens of the Jewish faith to Marshal Pétain. …


April Benayoum, Miss Provence, last week’s Anti-Semitic remarks victim: the Paris Public Prosecutor’s Office opens an investigation

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April Benayoum. Photo courtesy of Antoine TOMASELLI.

Following her claim that her father was of Israeli origin, the first runner-up in the Miss France 2021 contest was the target of multiple anti-Semitic tweets. The Paris Public Prosecutor’s Office has opened an investigation this Monday, December 21.

Paris Public Prosecutor’s Office initiated an inquiry for “racist slurs and incitement to racial hatred”. The investigation came in response on Saturday, December 19.

These Tweets sparked the wrath of several prominent politicians, including Marlene Schiappa as well as Carole Delga, the President of the Occitanie region, who expressed her support for her while stating that “more means must be deployed to fight online hate and prosecute. …


When the area of residence had very few followers

In Russia, during the tsarist period, the intellectual Jewish struggle was organized in the face of growing state anti-Semitism.

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Marc Chagall Synagogue (1917)

As a multi-ethnic country, Russia has always been the home of literary creativity, enriched by the works of Jewish authors writing in Russian, Yiddish, Hebrew or English, especially during the imperial period, i.e. from 1721, when Peter I founded the Rossiskaïa imperia, until 1917.

Under the reign of Empress Catherine II, imperial Russia expanded from 1791 with the annexation of territories such as Poland, Lithuania and the Principality of Moldavia, which then had “the largest concentration of Jews in the world”. …


A stand against oblivion

Located in the middle of retro-chic Cairo, the Shaar Hashamayim Synagogue (the Gate of Heaven, in Hebrew) attracts attention, takes the breath away, and delights the eye. Heart-like, majestic and charismatic as far as the eye can see. That is the least that can be said of this century-old monument.

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Shar Hashamayim. Adly St. by Houda Belabd

Shaar Hashamayim, the largest of all the Sephardic Jewish synagogues in Cairo, is located at number 17 Adly Pasha Street, formerly known as Madabegh Street. Built in 1905, its plans were drawn by Maurice Youssef Cattaoui and Edwark Matasek. …


A synagogue nearing its centenary of existence

In a few days, it will be the Hannukah. An important event, like many others, to illuminate the Synagogue of Meir Enaim. Based in the Maadi district of Cairo, it is one of the five great Judeo-Egyptian symbols, after the Ben Ezra Synagogue, the Shar Hashamayim Synagogue, the Jewry of Old Cairo and the Jewish cemetery of the Bassatines.

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Meir Enaim Synagogue © Diarna.org

Today, the Egyptian Jewish community is less than twenty people. Yes. No more than twenty Egyptian-Jewish citizens have chosen to live in the Cairo-Alexandria axis, ad vitam eaternam. …


The scriptural narratives and those of the European intelligentsia

The Ben Ezra Synagogue in Cairo is the oldest Jewish temple in the whole wide Egypt. It is distinctive for its combination of Christian architecture, Islamic arabesques, and Jewish embellishments. It is also renowned for its Guenizah (repository of used texts) which housed many manuscripts of tremendous historical value.

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The synagogue Ben Ezra history is enthralling. According to a famous legend, it is here that the Pharaoh’s daughter would have collected Moses in his basket, and that he would have grown up in these same places.

While the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar was in power, the Jews who arrived back in the country under the guidance of the prophet Jeremiah accidentally found the traces of Moses, and there, near the city of Giza, they built a synagogue in the name of Jeremiah. Inside this temple was built a special place called Genizah where, much later, the unfinished Torah attributed to Ezra Sopher (Ezra the Scribe) was buried. To the west of the synagogue is the church of Abu Serga, which contains a crypt whose story goes that when the governor of Jerusalem Herod ordered the execution of all the children of his kingdom, the Virgin Mary, Joseph, and the infant Jesus fled and sought refuge in this crypt, which sheltered them for three months. When the Romans invaded Egypt in 30 B.C., …


The secular history of an unbeatable monument

Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue is the largest Jewish temple in the Middle East outside Israel, located on Nabi-Danial Street in downtown Alexandria, Egypt.

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According to documentary evidence, the Alexandria Synagogue was built in 1354. It was cited by Rabbi Ovadia ben Abraham of Bertanora in 1487 as “The Synagogue of the Prophet Elijah” and it is also called the “Diofloston of Alexandria” in the Talmud. …

About

Houda BELABD

Columnist at the Times of Israel, journalist at Le Petit Journal de New York, aspiring writer & Researcher in Judeo-Andalusian cultural heritage.

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