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Moroccan Jews

  • New children's book revives legacy of Jewish-Muslim coexistence

    On the backdrop of rising discrimination and violence against Israel's Arab citizens, a new children's book invokes the spirit of friendship between Arabs and Jews, giving us at least one thing to look forward to in 2016.  By Yoni Mendel (Translated from Hebrew by Ami Asher) A new children's book, "Sweet Tea with Mint And Other Stories" is being released in a climate of increasing discrimination. With the Education Ministry excluding books from its curriculum out of fear of “miscegenation,” at a time of record low of Arabic proficiency among Jews, and with the images of Jews dancing and stabbing photos of Palestinian…

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  • Ten things you didn't know about Mimouna

    Mimouna, the traditional festival celebrated by North African Jews on the last day of Passover, is often overlooked when discussing the Jewish holiday of liberation. Here are 10 things you might not know about the celebration that once brought Jews and Muslims together.  By Ophir Toubul 1. The name of the holiday, "Mimouna," has several different, fascinating meanings. The most famous of them attribute the name to the Hebrew word "emuna" (belief), the death of the preeminent medieval Sephardic Jewish philosopher, Rambam ("Maimonides") or the name of the Berber goddess of luck ("Mimouna"). A less popular explanation ascribes the name…

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  • Longing for Jewish-Muslim co-existence in Morocco

    Kamal Hachkar's film, 'Echoes From the Mellah,' looks at Morocco's history, which not long ago included Jews and Muslims living together in peaceful co-existence, and serves as an important resource for building a vision of a shared Jewish-Palestinian existence. By Ronit Chacham (translated by Noam Benishei) The January 6 screening of Kamal Hachkar’s "Tinghir-Jerusalem: Echoes From the Mellah," at the opening of Doc Aviv Festival in Yeruham, and the following screening at Ben-Gurion University, were first and foremost an opportunity to broach a subject that is at the heart of our lives: Muslim-Jewish relations. This time, however, it was done through…

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  • Searching for song and identity, from the Maghreb to the Negev

    Neta Elkayam, an upcoming artist and musician based in Jerusalem, tells the story of her multi-faceted identity and presents her own personal mixtape. Café Gibraltar sat down with Elkayam to discuss her experiences growing up in a southern Israeli development town, her life-changing trip to Morocco, and the power of North Africa’s female singers. By Hagar Shezaf and Khen Elmaleh Where are you from? I was born in Netivot, Israel. My experience has been one of a "southerner," although I spent the second half of my life wandering. I lived in Be'er Sheba's Dalet neighborhood, and then in the Hatikva…

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  • Mizrahi culture was suppressed, Ashkenazi culture is simply forgotten

    Since the founding of the State of Israel, the Ashkenazi elite has suppressed the Mizrahi culture Jews from Arab countries brought with them. But almost without us noticing, those who led the Zionist project also erased whatever was left of the Ashkenazi traditions from Eastern Europe. By Edan Ring Family Day was no different from any other holiday. On this day, too, we received an assignment from our daughter's kindergarten teacher. Only this time, we were slightly embarrassed. As part of the Family Day (formerly known as the Israeli version of Mother's Day) celebrations, the kindergarten hosted a big meal,…

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  • 'Revivo's Project' brings Mizrahi pop back to its Arab roots

    The Revivo Project's debut album is a rare homage to the forefathers of Mediterranean pop and provides an educational introduction to the history of Mizrahi music -- or at least the Yemenite part. By Ophir Toubul Israeli-Mizrahi music has, from time immemorial, been divided into two main, often competing groups. The first is comprised of Moroccan singers, including Ofer Levi, Zehava Ben or Kobi Peretz, who gave the music a strong Turkish-Arabic flavor that was often depressing and full of protest. The second group was comprised of Yemenite Jews. What started in the 70s in Tel Aviv's Kerem HaTeimanim ("Yemenite…

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