With partner agencies like JDC operating in more than 70 countries around the world, odds are you’ll run into Federation on your travels. Sheri and Steve did in Morocco.
Originally a haven for Jews fleeing the Spanish Inquisition, Morocco has been a home to Jews for hundreds of years. Today the small, vibrant Moroccan Jewish community is a particularly active JDC partner, achieving an exceptional degree of self-sufficiency and serving as an example for other Jewish communities the world over.
Jews have been living in Morocco since Roman times. Moroccan Jewry – a unique community with a rich heritage – has undergone significant demographic change over the past half-century, with emigration largely responsible for reducing its numbers from their mid-1900s peak of 240,000.
Today, there are some 4,000 Jews in Morocco living among a predominantly Muslim population of over 32 million people. Despite this minority status, the bond between Morocco’s Muslims and Jews has remained strong, and Jewish communal life in Morocco offers a model of coexistence that many in the West are unaware of.
The Jewish community of Morocco has succeeded in maintaining a strong Jewish identity and is very well organized. It includes two Jewish school systems, welfare services, medical facilities, and homes for the aged. The majority of Morocco’s Jews – between 3,000 and 3,200 – live in Casablanca, a thriving center of Jewish communal life and home to over 20 functioning synagogues, three Jewish social clubs, kosher restaurants, and most of the community’s infrastructure.
While the Jewish community remains vibrant and dynamic, the community is cognizant of the need for security measures at Jewish schools and institutions. This, together with a rapid rise in the cost of living, has created financial challenges for the community that have necessitated cuts in allocations affecting a range of welfare, medical, and school programs.
JDC works in cooperation and partnership with local leadership and the Council of Jewish Communities, the umbrella organization representing Jewish communities in Morocco, to address these challenges. Together, they offer financial and technical assistance to Jewish institutions and programs in Casablanca and seven smaller provincial communities to help in providing necessary health, welfare, and educational services for Morocco’s Jews.
You can help us support our partner agencies, such as JDC, today in three ways: