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Ancient Jewish Synagogue Fez

Feb 16

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2/16/2013 7:05 PM  RssIcon

Slat al-Fassiyine (Prayer of the Fesians) ancient synagogue in Fez

By Lhassan Afkir  

Morocco held a ceremony on Wednesday, Feb, 13, 2013 to inaugurate the completion of renovations to an ancient Jewish synagogue in the historic
city of Fez.

The two-year restoration of the Slat al-Fassiyine (Prayer of the Fesians) synagogue was part-financed by Germany. The ceremony included Morocco’s Islamist prime minister, Abdelilah Benkirane, as well as German parliament speaker Norbert Lammert, according to Global Post. In addition, a Jewish former Moroccan Minster Serge Berdugo spoke as well. 

The restoration of the ancient synagogue in Fez, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is part of a larger effort by Morocco to come to terms with its Jewish community.  The new constitution that was adopted in 2011 amid the Arab Spring recognized Morocco’s Jewish heritage.

“As is enshrined in the Kingdom’s new Constitution, the Hebrew heritage is indeed one of the time-honored components of our national identity,” read King Mohammed VI’s message to the inauguration ceremony, Agence Marocaine De Presse (MAP) reported.

The King added that he wishes for the restoration of all synagogues in Moroccan cities so that they can “serve as places of worship…and as forums for cultural dialogue.”

Morocco was home to over 250,000 Jews during the first half of the 20th century. But amid the establishment of Israel and the Arab-Israeli conflict, many Jews fled or were forced from their homes throughout the Middle East. Today, Morocco’s Jewish community is estimated to be around 3,000.

Slat al-Fassiyine (Prayer of the Fesians) synagogue architecture in Fez




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