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My Heart in the Maghreb. Jewish-Moroccan Film Week

Talk, Film and Concert

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.

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 Old Building is marked in green


Old Building, ground level, Glass Courtyard
Lindenstraße 9–14, 10969 Berlin

8. Mai, 3 pm

Jews among Muslims: The Transformation of the Jewish Communities of Morocco in the Modern Era – Introductory talk with Daniel J. Schroeter

Jews have lived in the area referred to today as Morocco at least since Roman times – that is, since before the arrival of Arabs and Islam. This talk will give a historical overview of the relationship between Jews and Muslims in Morocco. The focus of the talk will be the diverse transformation processes which the Jewish communities went through in modern times, having been impacted by European influences, colonialism, Arab nationalism, Zionism, as well as mass emigration in the second half of the 20th century.

Daniel Schroeter is Professor of Jewish History at the University of Minnesota and the author of many works on Moroccan Judaism and on the relationship between Jews and Muslims. His publications include The Sultan’s Jew: Morocco and the Sephardi World (2002), Merchants of Essaouira: Urban Society and Imperialism in Southwestern Morocco, 1844-1886 (1988) and (as co-editor) Jewish Culture and Society in North Africa (2011).

Neta Elkayam

Neta Elkayam; Shmulik Balmas

8. May, 4.30 pm

Tinghir-Jerusalem. Echoes from the Mellah

Filmmaker Kamal Hachkar was born in the Moroccan town Tinghir and grew up in France. Not until later in life did he discover that his place of birth was home to a large Jewish community until the 1960s. In order to trace the forgotten history of Jews in Tinghir, Hachkar travelled to Morocco and Israel. Interviews with historians, with the people involved at the time and with their descendants bring the shared past of Tinghir’s Jews and Muslims to life as people who were connected by a common language and identity as Imazighen (Berbers).

Q & A with director Kamal Hachkar after the screening.

Documentary, France 2012, Director: Kamal Hachkar, 87 minutes, French, Tamazight, Arabic, and Hebrew with English subtitles

8. May, 7 pm

Neta Elkayam: Howa Jani

The Israeli singer Neta Elkayam comes from a Moroccan-Jewish family. Named after one of her songs, her musical project Howa Jani combines elements of traditional Arab and North African music with classical Andalusian sounds and further contributes with new compositions to the culture of Moroccan Jewry. Sung in Arabic, Neta Elkayam's songs build bridges between Moroccan Jews and Muslims, between North Africa, the Middle East and Europe.

Where, when, what?

  • When 8 May 2016, 3 pm, 4.30 pm and 7 pm
  • Where Old Building, ground level, Glass Courtyard

    Lindenstraße 9–14, 10969 Berlin

    See location on map
  • Entry fee

    free; Concert 10 euros, reduced rate 7 euros

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