By Youssef El Kaidi
Morocco World News
Fez, June 24, 2013
Within the framework of a national strategy to restore and revive Moroccan Jewish synagogues, Morocco on Sunday inaugurated Rafael synagogue in Salé. The initiative of restoring and opening Moroccan synagogues, which are part of the national collective memory, is hailed by many commentators who consider it a step in line with the spirit of the new constitution, which recognizes all the components of Moroccan cultural identity, including Hebraic influences.
The new (old) synagogue was named after a Moroccan Jew native of the city of Salé called Rafael Enqawa who remained faithful and loyal to his Moroccanness until his death in 1935. Rafael was a tradesman working and moving between Morocco and France. He shortly lived in Spain to return to his birthplace, Salé, where he was elected as a member of the city council; a position that he held until 1925 to be succeeded by his son.
The inauguration ceremony of Rafael synagogue was attended by a number of the Jewish community members in Morocco who expressed their happiness at the event and their admiration of the pluralistic and diverse model of Morocco.
“This is a Moroccan continuous recognition. […] We are here in a place for memory and life. Here was our childhood and this is part of us,” said Rafael Torjman, a member of the Jewish community in Morocco.
Under the supervision of the council of the Jewish community in Morocco, restoration works continued for two years. The rehabilitation of the synagogue will enable the reception of more visitors in better conditions. “For more than fifty years, this synagogue was not maintained. Now, it’s in a new suit and this is an exceptional event,” said David Twaydano, the representative of the Jewish community in Morocco.