Moroccan Judaism: A Lecture & Documentary Screening by Yona Abeddour

Moroccan Judaism: A Lecture & Documentary Screening by Yona Abeddour 

Wednesday, November 1 @ 6:30 in ROOM 30 of the ALC/ALIF

Youness (Yona) Abeddour, born in Fez, has been working to promote a better understanding of the pluralistic identity of Morocco. He holds a master’s degree in Cultural Studies, completing a thesis on “The Representation of Moroccan Jews in Moroccan Cinema.” He researches the history of Moroccan Judaism and makes documentary films. Today he lives between Israel and France, where he’s doing a Ph.D. in anthropology at Ben Gurion University and the University of Lyon on the topic of Moroccan Jewish Identities in contemporary France and Israel.

“A Culture in Danger” (2011)

What was once a key part of Moroccan culture and society is now on the way to being forgotten. There is much confusion and even resentment caused by the massive Jewish immigration to Israel and many people now confuse terms such as Judaism and Zionism. This confusion and lack of information has caused many people to forget or to even look negatively on a people who were once their neighbors and a culture that is even now intricately a part of their own. This film seeks to resolve the confusion and to educate people about this history of a culture which cannot be separated from Moroccan culture as a whole.

“My Neighbor…the Jew”

“My Neighbor…the Jew” highlights Muslim-Jewish relations in Morocco. Muslims in Morocco talk about their Jewish neighbors in a very nostalgic manner, and Jews remember Muslims as good neighbors and friends. The Jewish interviewees are strongly attached to their roots and history in Morocco, which they are not willing to give up. The title accentuates the concept of “neighbor,” which echoes the message of the documentary. The neighbor in both Islam and Judaism, as well as in the Moroccan culture, is almost hallowed. The Hebrew Bible says “Love thy neighbor as thyself” (Leviticus 19:18). There is a Hadith narrated by the Prophet of Islam that states “The best neighbor in Allah’s estimation is the one who is best to his neighbor” (Al-Tirmidhi, Number 1287), and the famous Moroccan proverb “Choose your neighbor before your house.”

This lecture, organized by the ALC-ALIF Cultural Heritage Club, is free and open to the general public.