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My Heart in the Maghreb. Jewish-Moroccan Film Week

8 – 12 May 2016

Morocco was once home to the largest Jewish community in any Arab country. In the mid-20th century more than 250,000 Jews resided there, but between the 1950s and 1970s the majority of them left for Israel, Europe, and North America. Today, about 2500 Jews are still living in Morocco, most of them in Casablanca.

For the last twenty years there has been a growing interest in Moroccan Judaism. Young Muslim Moroccans are rediscovering the Jewish heritage in their country, and the descendants of Jewish Moroccan emigrants are retracing the histories of their parents and grandparents and exploring the traditions, narratives, and music of this long ignored culture.

The film week My heart in the Maghreb presents a variety of perspectives on Moroccan Judaism, with feature and documentary films from France, Canada, Israel, and especially from Morocco itself, most of these films being shown in Germany for the first time. All the films will be shown in the original language with English subtitles, and following the screenings the film directors will be present to answer questions in English.
The film week will be accompanied by an introductory historical talk and a closing panel on the culture of memory and Jewish life in Morocco today (both in English). The week will be opened with a concert by the Jewish singer Neta Elkayam, who discovered her own roots in traditional Arab melodies and carries on this Moroccan Jewish cultural heritage with her own original songs.

The film festival is presented by the Jewish-Islamic Forum, part of the Academy Programs of the Jewish Museum Berlin, and organized in cooperation with the “Association des Amis du Musée du Judaïsme Marocain” in Casablanca.

The Association of the Friends of the Museum of Moroccan Judaism AAMJM was founded in Morocco in 2013. It is open to anyone who would like to support the preservation of the cultural heritage of Moroccan Judaism. This association realizes a variety of projects, as presented on the website

With support from: The Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco in the Federal Republic of Germany

Media Partner: Zitty

Past event

Map with all buildings that belong to the Jewish Museum Berlin. The W. M. Blumenthal Academy is marked in green


W. M. Blumenthal Academy,
Klaus Mangold Auditorium
Fromet-und-Moses-Mendelssohn-Platz 1, 10969 Berlin (Opposite the Museum)

12 May, 5 pm

Return to Oulad Moumen

In 1910 the Jewish-Moroccan family Edery settled in the Moroccan village of Oulad Moumen. Izza Génini’s film documents the history of her family in the 20th century, a history characterized by upward mobility and emigration. The family, which emigrated first within Morocco and then to Europe and North America, became dispersed throughout the world. The children, grandchildren and greatgrandchildren return for a family reunion to Oulad Moumen and take this opportunity to explore their Moroccan roots. A personal and yet universal family history, which was one of the first films to address the history of Moroccan Jews. Im Jahre 1910 ließ sich die jüdisch-marokkanische Familie Edery im Dorf Oulad Moumen nieder.

Q & A with Izza Génini after the screening.

Documentary, France 1994, Director: Izza Génini, 48 minutes, French with English subtitles

Film still of a man wearing a turban standing in a desert

Film still: They were Promised the Sea; Kathy Wazana

12 May, 6.30 pm

They were Promised the Sea. Arab Jews between Homeland and Promised Land

Filmmaker Kathy Wazana left her place of birth Casablanca in 1958 at the age of ten. Like many Jews at the time, her mother and her stepfather believed that they were no longer safe in Morocco. Kathy Wazana took off for a cinematic journey through Morocco, Israel, and New York to meet witnesses and experts on Jewish life in Morocco. In the second part of the film, she documents Jerusalemite Shira Ohayon’s trip to her parents’ place of birth, where she presents her Israeli passport and is welcomed.

Q & A with director Kathy Wazana after the screening.

Documentary, Canada 2013, Director: Kathy Wazana, 72 minutes, French, English, Arabic, and Hebrew with English subtitles

12 May, 8.30 pm

Cultures of Memory and Moroccan Judaism today – Closing panel

The film week will close with a panel, discussing central questions provoked by the films: How do Moroccan Jews who live outside of Morocco today remember the time in Morocco? How do Moroccan Muslims remember their past Jewish neighbors and friends? Have there been changes in the culture of memory between the first, second, and third generations? How is the mass emigration of Jews from Morocco in the 1950s and 1970s perceived? And what is the situation of Jews who still live in Morocco today?


Mohamed Elmedlaoui (Université Mohammed V – Souissi, Rabat), Iris Hefets (psychotherapist and author, Berlin), Jean Lévy (Association des Amis du Musée du Judaïsme Marocain Casablanca /Berlin), Emanuela Trevisan Semi (Università Ca‘ Foscari, Venice) Chair: Sophie Wagenhofer (historian)

Where, when, what?

  • When 12 May 2016, 5 pm, 6.30 pm and 8.30 pm
  • Where W. M. Blumenthal Academy,
    Klaus Mangold Auditorium

    Fromet-und-Moses-Mendelssohn-Platz 1, 10969 Berlin
    (Opposite the Museum)

    See location on map
  • Entry fee


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