by Aaron Vincent Elkaim
Moroccan Jewish history began over 2000 years ago. Protected under the Islamic Principle of Tolerance, Jews flourished, holding high positions in trade and Government. The Star of David was a symbol shared by all Moroccans, appearing on currency and even the national flag. During the Holocaust, when asked for a list of Jews, King Mohammed V declared, “We have no Jews in Morocco, only Moroccan citizens.” Jews and Muslims were united by culture and kingdom.Following World War II, Zionists recruiters targeted Moroccan Jews to populate the new State of Israel. Israel’s expansion marked the beginning of the Moroccan Jewish exodus. Though 300 000 Jews inhabited Morocco as of 1940, less that 4000 remain today.What remains is a Jewish past nearly abandoned, fragments of Morocco’s Jewish culture left under the protection of Muslim guardians devoting their lives to a history that isn’t even their own, yet entirely is. Amidst breathtaking landscapes are holy saints, abandoned relics and sacred spaces. Within these spaces are pilgrims, desperately seeking to identify with what remains.This work represents a journey into the void left by this cultural exodus while revealing a history of co-existence, sacrificed in the wake of Zionism.