Passover and other Jewish events are bound to take up a different social meaning in Morocco after the country normalized ties with Israel.
Miami – On the evening of March 27, Jewish communities and participants across the globe celebrated Passover. This is a crucial moment in the kingdom of Morocco, with the occasion having acquired an even greater meaning after Morocco’s normalization deal with Israel in December 2020.
Passover, Pesach in Hebrew, is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the liberation of Exodus from Egypt more than 3,000 years ago. The date changes each year in accordance with the Hebrew calendar, yet is always celebrated in the spring. The festival is held for eight days (seven in Israel) and ends at sundown on April 4.
This year, the Moroccan Jewish community is exceptionally eager to celebrate the festival given the recently ameliorated ties between Morocco and Israel.
“This year’s celebration is definitely going to be a memorable one. We always celebrate Passover in Morocco, my home country, but with the newly established ties between Israel and Morocco, this time it will be done with a new level of comfort and pride,” said Youssef El Baz, a 76-year-old merchant in Casablanca.
He added, “My family and I are ecstatic and grateful for such normalized ties. It shows the true coexistence that has always been rooted in our country.”
For the Casablanca businessman, the feast has many more virtues beyond its immediate, religious dimension.“When we celebrate Passover, it is not just limited to my Jewish community. More often than not we host dinners where our Muslims brothers and sisters join us, and this is undoubtedly a deeply-rooted dynamic in Morocco and needs more representation.”
The festival centers around the seder, a special home service, that includes festive meals, prayers, readings and songs. In Casablanca, Jewish-Moroccan families have integrated to the celebration of Passover traditional Moroccan customs such as the wearing of caftans.
In fact, Morocco has witnessed a significantly increasing trend in the establishment of Kosher meals in restaurants and overall Kosher-friendly options.
Casablanca’s “Madame Fhal” bakery, which is famous for its delicious kosher bread, is one of the places where the community can easily buy special bread that is baked in compliance with the religious requirements.
Kevin Fhal, the 36-year-old grandson of the founder of this baking institution, expressed utmost joy and elation in celebrating the festival with the newly normalized ties. He called the Morocco-Israel agreement a “bound deal,” drawing particular attention to the two countries’ converging historical paths.