Casablanca Jewish museum reopened after renovations

(JTA) — The Museum of Moroccan Judaism, one of the only institutions of its kind in the Arab world, was reopened in Casablanca following months of renovations.

The reopening ceremony earlier this month was attended by Moroccan government officials, museum President Jaques Toledano and Samuel Kaplan, the U.S. ambassador to Morocco and a past president of the Minneapolis Jewish Federation, according to the Moroccan news site LNT.ma.

At the reopening, the museum’s halls were filled with the sound of violins and the scents of incense and orange blossom. The museum, with a floor space of a few hundred square yards, features photos of synagogues from across the kingdom, Torah scrolls and Chanukah lamps, Moroccan caftans embroidered with gold, jewels, ancient rugs and objects of Jewish-Moroccan cultural heritage. 

“It’s not a fancy museum, but it contains some real treasures of cultures,” said Joel Rubinfeld, co-chair of the European Jewish Parliament, who saw the museum last month during a visit for talks with Moroccan officials. 

Founded 15 years earlier by the Jewish community of Casablanca, the museum was later managed by the Foundation of Moroccan Judaism under its chief administrator, Simon Levy. The building was renovated following his death in 2011.

Morocco has about 3,000 Jews, a tenth of its original Jewish population before the establishment of the State of Israel. 

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