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A Look at Moroccan Jewry Past, Present and Future

A Look at Moroccan Jewry Past, Present and Future

January 8, 2016

Israel Studies, Culture & Jewish Thought, Social Sciences & Humanities

Starting in the 1940s and 1950s, thousands of Moroccan Jews emigrated to Israel, while others moved to France. By the second decade of the 21st century, the number of Jews living in Morocco had dwindled from a peak of a quarter million to no more than 3,000, the vast majority of them residents of Casablanca.

In his new book Return to Casablanca, anthropologist Dr. André Levy assesses the impact of this massive emigration on those Jews who decided to stay in his native Morocco. Dr. Levy is a senior lecturer at BGU’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology.


A Moroccan flag used in the early 20th century featured a star of David, harking back to a time when Morocco’s Jews were numerous.

The book provides personal insights into the effects of the diminished Moroccan Jewish community’s establishment of “spatial divisions of spheres in order to obtain better control of interactions with Muslims.”

Dr. Levy posits that as Israel gained more and more Moroccan Jews into its citizenry, the wall between Muslim and Jewish Moroccans gained more and more bricks. This concept — what Dr. Levy calls “contraction” — depicts the way that modern Moroccan Jews deal with the ramifications of their demographic dwindling,

Today a very small minority, Moroccan Jews are “lacking a spirit of their own; their entire existence is dependent on the nurturing radiation of the homeland,” says Dr. Levy.

Turning his attention outward from Morocco, Dr. Levy goes on to explore the greater complexities of the Jewish diaspora and the essential paradox at the heart of his adventure – leaving Israel to return home.

Buy the book here >>