Bronze / 2010 / Portraiture / Culture

Guardian Of Jewish Morocco

  • Photographer
    Aaron Vincent Elkaim

Since the 7th century Moroccan Jews have lived within a Muslim nation. Living as a protected minority under the Islamic Principle of Tolerance Jews flourished, co-operating with their Muslim neighbors. In the 1940's there were 300,000 Jews is Morocco, the largest Jewish population in the Muslim world. Today, after emigration to Israel and the Western World, only 3500 remain. Enduring Jewish holy sites scatter the country. These synagogues and cemeteries are cared for by Muslim guardians who often spend their lives dedicated to preserving a Jewish history connected to their own. 1. Guardian Jardih Rhimou, 47, sits in front of images of Meknes' holy Jewish saints of the Toledano family in the New Jewish Cemetery of Meknes. 2. 84 year old Abas Abudssif has been the guardian of the Jewish Cemetery in El Jadida, Morocco since 1955. His son Abdullae, 28, is being groomed to take over the responsibility. 3. In the small southern Moroccan village of Arazan, Berber Muslim Harim Hamad watches over the Synagogue that he has been the guardian of since 1962. 4. Zoubida, 26, the guardian of the Synagogue in the southern Moroccan village of Ighil Noro. 5. Mrs. Arouche has been the guardian of the Chaim Pinto Synagogue in Essaouira, Morocco for the last ten years. She succeeded her father who had been the guardian for the previous fifty years.