By Anouar Majid
By Anouar Majid
New York – I had the tremendous pleasure of attending an historic event at the majestic B’nai Jeshurun synagogue in Manhattan, New York and witness the long-overdue recognition of Morocco’s King Mohammed V (1909 – 61) for his refusal to surrender his Jewish subjects to the French occupiers who were collaborating with the Nazis during World War II.
Thanks to the leadership of Peter Greffen, the founder and director of KIVUNIM: The Institute for World Jewish Studies who graciously invited me to attend at the recommendation of my friend Hillel Levine, I was able to witness a joyous celebration and the pledge of KIVUNIM students to spread the word about King Mohammed’s righteous act.
The ceremony took place in the presence of Morocco’s princess, Lalla Hasna, granddaughter of Mohammed V and sister to the current king, Mohammed VI, and many other distinguished politicians and diplomats from both countries.
David Saperstein, the United States Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, gave a stirring speech about Morocco’s culture of openness and tolerance, and why that country, under King Mohammed VI, is a model for many nations today.
A Jewish rabbi prayed for King Mohammed V and his descendants; a Jewish student of Moroccan ancestry sang one of my favorite Jewish Moroccan songs by Samy Elmaghribi; and more songs followed, with the cheerful contribution of the hundreds of students in the congregation.
Watching this powerful celebration and love exchanged between Jews and Muslims in New York dispelled the gloom of many and renewed my hope in the power of people to transcend their narrow commitments and reach out to more capacious identities and worldviews. I used mostly my iPhone to record and put together the video below. I can’t think of a better gift to share in this holiday season.
Originally published on Tingitana.com