This historic, cultural and spiritual space, after restoration work, houses the Synagogue “Slat Attia”, the house of memory and history “Bayt Dakira” and the International Research Center Haim and Celia Zafrani on the history of the Relations between Judaism and Islam.
Upon his arrival at “Bayt Dakira”, the King was greeted by the counselor, President of the Essaouira-Mogador Association, Andre Azoulay, before being greeted by the members of the “Bayt Dakira” scientific committee and the office of the Essaouira-Mogador Association, initiator of this project, and the architects responsible for the restoration of this project.
The Sovereign was then greeted by the Chief Rabbi of Casablanca, Joseph Israel, and the Chief Rabbi David Pinto, before visiting the prayer hall “Slat Attia”, one of the most emblematic synagogues of Essaouira-Mogador which reflects the exceptional singularity and richness of Moroccan Judaism.
The Sovereign was greeted by Mrs. Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Mr. Andre Azoulay presented to the King, Amir Al-Mouminine, the two Holy Books: The Koran and La Thora (photo above).
On this occasion, the cantor Michel Abittan performed religious songs, before the Chief Rabbi of Casablanca, Joseph Israel, pronounced a blessing for King Mohammed VI.
Andre Azoulay delivered a speech in which he affirmed that this visit of the Sovereign seals the rebirth of the city of Essaouira, which has always been turned towards the rest of the world, noting that this is a historic day which bears the imprint of “our secular and millennial Morocco which has been able to protect the very great diversity, which is the central wealth of our country” .
“This house is that of memory and history. It is also that of that Moroccan compass that the world needs today, a world in search of landmarks, a world which turns its back on all these values which are those of our country under the leadership of HM the King, Amir Al-Mouminine “, added Mr. Azoulay.
Having for center of gravity the Synagogue “Slat Attia”, Bayt Dakira is a place of memory which tells by objects, texts, photo and film the exceptional saga of Judaism in the city of Essaouira and its heritages: from tea ceremonial to Hebrew poetic art, from the gold and silver filigree goldwork to the embroidery and making of sumptuous caftans, from cultural arts to literature and rituals from the synagogue to the big trading posts which made Mogador’s influence in the 18th and 19th centuries.
“Bayt Dakira”, which presents and explains all the passages of Jewish life in Essaouira, from birth to death and from Bar Mitzvah to marriage, is also a place of education thanks to the Haim and Celia Zafrani Research Center on the History of Relations between Judaism and Islam, which is a space for exchange between researchers from various backgrounds and a space for sharing, transmission and resistance to amnesia.
At the end of the visit, the King, Amir Al-Mouminine, was greeted by 27 personalities from the Moroccan Jewish community and the world.
Elders can rest in peace. The Moroccan Jewish memory has its guardians. Of all generations and all faiths, these Moroccans by birth or by heart are mobilized, each on their own scale and in their living space, to preserve, perpetuate and promote Moroccan Judaism, a singular and often exemplary component of plural identity from Morocco.
The Sovereign offered a dinner on Wednesday at the Cite des Alizes in honor of members of the Moroccan Jewish community and great personalities from around the world to attend this great event.
This dinner was marked by the presence of the King’s advisers, MM. Fouad Ali El Himma, Andre Azoulay and Yassir Zenagui, members of the government, the Director-General of UNESCO, Ms Audrey Azoulay, the German Ambassador in Rabat, Dr Gotz Schmidt Bermme, the Secretary General of the Community Jewish in Morocco, Mr. Serge Berdugo, of the Chief Rabbi of Geneva, Mr. Yzhak Dayann, of the Executive Director of the American Sephardic Federation, Mr. Jason Guberman and of the actor and humorist, Gad El Maleh, as well as several high personalities.
“Bayt Dakira” is a consecration of “the Moroccan exception” in the field of interreligious dialogue, affirmed the president of the scientific committee of this spiritual and patrimonial building, Mina Lamghari.
“Bayt Dakira”, which is a unique space of its kind in the South of the Mediterranean and in the Islamic world, will constitute “a complex which highlights the historical and cultural heritage sheltered by the city of Essaouira” and will make the subject of a “call to discover the Moroccan exception” in the fields of dialogue and coexistence between religions, she said in a statement to the MAP on this occasion.
Ms. Lamghari said that this institution will tell the memory of the city of Essaouira and the history of the Jewish presence within it from the 18th century to the present day, stressing that the history of the Kingdom includes “beautiful stories of rapprochement and of cohabitation between Moroccan Jews and Muslims “, which” Bayt Dakira “will guarantee to promote.
She underlined in this respect that “Bayt Dakira” will provide historical documents, antiques and photographs of this “world metropolis of which we are proud as Moroccans”, noting that this institution includes an educational space and a museum which tells in images and audiovisual documents the memory of the city and the history of the Jewish presence within it “, in addition to a space which houses the International Center for Studies on the History of Judaism and Islam in Morocco and in other countries.
The “Bayt Dakira” space in the old medina of Essaouire, gives a strong impetus for peace, dialogue and openness, said the Franco-Moroccan actor Gad Elmaleh.
The King’s visit to this spiritual and heritage space is “a strong signal from the Sovereign to the Jewish community in Morocco, to the international community and to the people who are watching us around the world to give an impetus for peace, dialogue and openness, “Gad El Maleh told reporters on the occasion.
Morocco constitutes “a unique model which sends a strong message of harmony, cohesion and dialogue between the communities, whereas it is rather difficult worldwide”, he underlined.