Members of the Moroccan Jewish community from across the world arrived in Essaouira earlier this week to celebrate the annual Hiloula.
Rabat – Hundreds of members of the Moroccan Jewish community came from across the world on Thursday, September 19 to celebrate the Hiloula of Rabbi Haim Pinto on the anniversary of his death in the Jewish Cemetery of the city.
The event is a religious meeting which takes place annually in September in Morocco’s coastal city of Essaouira. Traditionally, the four-day event convenes Jews from America, North America, Latin America, and all of Europe.
Maghreb Arab Press (MAP) reported that the event is an opportunity for the members of the Jewish Moroccan community to express attachment to their motherland, Morocco, a “haven of peace, and land of tolerance.”
Speaking at the event, Rabbi David Pinto said, “Morocco is our homeland. It is our country that we all love and cherish more.”
He added, “I am so happy and so proud to meet again this year in Essaouira.”
The rabbi said that each member of the Jewish community in Morocco is an “ambassador for Morocco and elsewhere. Many people came only out of curiosity to hear, discover, and appreciate this beautiful and blessed country.”
The event attracts more than 1,500 Moroccan Jewish pilgrims annually.
In addition to the Moroccan Jewish community abroad, Morocco is still home for 2,000 Jews.
Of the 14.7 million Jews in the world, 2,000 Jews live in Morocco, statistics from the Jewish agency said in September 2018.
Morocco’s government has long reiterated its commitment to coexistence and tolerance between religions in Morocco.
King Mohammed VI echoed this commitment during Pope Francis visit to Morocco in March 2019. In a speech in front of the Pope and hundreds of attendees, the King spoke about coexistence and the “exceptional” rich diversity underpinning Moroccan civilization.
“It is reflected by the mosques, churches, and synagogues which have coexisted in the cities of the Kingdom since time immemorial.”