Tourism & travel, Culture

Hilloula Rabbi Haim Pinto : The Jewish Museum of Essaouira

Per: Alice JOUNDI  

TRADITION September 22nd there will be almost two thousand Jewish pilgrims from around the world flocking to Essaouira to pay tribute to one of their saints, Rabbi Haim Pinto. The history strongly binds Essaouira and the Jewish community. As a result, find a small piece of this cultural heritage in the city...

Children and grandchildren in Morocco and descendants of the Jewish community of Essaouira will gather to pray in honour of their saint and Rabbi Haim Pinto, who died there more than 150 years ago. The charismatic man is an essential part of Jewish history in Essaouira, he was responsible for building one of only two synagogues in the city that still exists today. 

Thus, each year, for four days, the Jewish people of the city and far away, come to pray and, at the same time, remember their attachment to Morocco and this special city. All measures have been put in place to make this a successful religious gathering. The city and all local authorities have been working hard to ensure the event runs smoothly. Local hotels and transport services are also at the ready to welcome pilgrims to the city.

The city's 32 synagogues

The Jewish quarter was once reserved for Jewish families, who are actively involved in city life. In the 19th century, the Jewish community even exceeded the number of muslims to the point that nearly 32 synagogues existed in Essaouira, compared to just seven mosques. 

In addition to the legacy of a cultural heritage, love and promotion of arts and craft skills, including jewelry making and upholstery, the Jewish community of Essaouira left a vast space in the city when they slowly departed. Gradually leaving the Mellah and all of Morocco during the time of the creation of the state of Isreal in 1948, gaining independance in 1956, they did not forget their Moroccan roots, evident in the many pilgrims that descend on the city each year to the tombs of the Saints of Essaouira, Safi, Fes and Taroudant. 

Text Alice Joundi

Photo Jewish cemetery - Essaouira

Translation Karen Athwal