The joint celebration of Mimouna is part of the broader push to cement Morocco-Israel ties in a wide range of fields, including politics and culture.
Miami – In partnership with Sephardic Heritage International in Washington (SHIN-DC) and the Smithsonian Institution, the Moroccan and Israeli embassies in Washington are hosting the first-ever joint Mimouna.
Mimouna is a common tradition among several North African Jewish communities. Mostly associated with Moroccan Jews, it marks the end of Pesach or Passover. During Passover, the Jewish community traditionally abstains from consuming or owning leavened bread referred to as hametz and, on Mimouna, the holiday is celebrated by the return to eating leavened bread.
“Occurring just before Holocaust Remembrance Day, Mimouna is a festival of good neighbors that encapsulates the spirit of the normalization of the Morocco-Israel relationship, as well as the establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and other neighbors under the Abraham Accords,” Sephardic Heritage International director Efraim Katzir said in a statement.
The statement continued, “Mimouna not only marks the end of Passover but is inspired by the Moroccan Jewish and interfaith narratives of unity, commemoration, goodwill, and neighborliness…. During Mimouna, Jewish families would open up their homes to each other and to non-Jews, who brought the leavened foods needed for a neighborly celebration. “
This year, the Moroccan and Israeli embassies will be teaming up for the first time to host the celebration virtually. The event is set to feature musical performances by Moroccan national and Washington-based Ismail Bouzidoune, who will play Gnawa religious music, as well as Moroccan-Israeli musician Mor Karbasi, who will be playing Andalusi music.
Bouzdoune, the lead vocalist, is from Casablanca and resides in the DC Metro Area.
As a young adult, he settled in the US armed with an abiding love of traditional Gnawa music, an ardent passion for playing bass and Gambri, and an unfaltering belief in the healing power of music to the U.S. He is the lead singer of Jouwala Collective, a group whose trademark consists in blending Gnawa music with modern genres of funk, jam, jazz, rock and electronic.
Karbasi is a Jerusalem resident, but her grandparents are originally from Marrakech, Morocco. She composes original material and sings traditional songs, which she has performed internationally, including in the US and Europe.