Thousands of Jews joined Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto for celebrations in Morocco.
Rabat – Morocco’s chief rabbi, Yoshiyahu Pinto, praised the relationship between the Moroccan monarchy and the kingdom’s Jewish community during celebrations that drew thousands of Jews from the US, Europe, and Israel to the Muslim North African nation.
Yeshiva World News, an Orthodox Jewish online news publication, reported that the festivities began in Essaouira, Morocco, on Thursday, November 28.
After praying at Rabbi Haim Pinto’s tomb, the pilgrims then held a special celebration called “Hachnasas Sefer Torah.” Following the celebration, they enjoyed a festive meal called “seudas mitzvah.”
On Friday, November 29, the group moved to Casablanca. They set up a large tent next to the Grand Mogador Hotel where they held prayer and enjoyed meals for the sabbath, Judaism’s day of rest.
During the celebrations, Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto repeatedly spoke of the special relationship between King Mohammed VI and Morocco’s Jewish community.
“We respect the Kingdom, which is a kingdom of grace,” he said, according to Yeshiva World News.
Morocco’s chief rabbi added that the relationship between the Moroccan monarchy and the Jewish community has been special throughout the ages.
‘Ex-con celebrity rabbi’
Yoshiyahu Pinto moved to Morocco in early 2017 after spending a year in prison in Israel.
An Israeli court sentenced Pinto for bribing a senior police official. After the official reported Pinto to his superior, Pinto’s followers carried out a defamation campaign against the official, according to Times of Israel. The official committed suicide in 2015 before Pinto began his prison sentence.
Israeli authorities also suspected Pinto of embezzling funds from his charitable organizations but never laid charges against him. Additionally, the FBI has launched a number of investigations into Pinto’s finances since 2011. In 2012, Globes business journal named him as one of the ten wealthiest rabbis in Israel.
After Pinto had lived in Morocco for two years, King Mohammed VI approved Pinto’s appointment as the country’s chief rabbi in April 2019.
Rabat: Photo, In an elaborate ceremony, Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto was crowned last tonight by representatives of the King of Morocco to become the Chief Rabbi of the Muslim State, Jewish and Muslim leaders jointly celebrated appointment pic.twitter.com/5pHwZdxgTg
— Yiddish News (@YiddishNews) April 14, 2019