15 January 2020
Essaouira – HM King Mohammed VI, Commander of the Faithful, visited on Wednesday in the old medina of Essaouira, “Bayt Dakira”, a spiritual and patrimonial space for the preservation and enhancement of the Judeo-Moroccan memory, unique of its kind in the southern Mediterranean and in the land of Islam.
This historical, cultural and spiritual space is home, after restoration work, to the “Slat Attia” Synagogue, the “Bayt Dakira” house of memory and history and the Haim and Celia Zafrani International Research Center on the history of Relations between Judaism and Islam.
The Sovereign’s visit to this edifice reflects the special interest that HM the King, Commander of the Faithful, attaches to the cultural and religious heritage of the Moroccan Jewish community, and his permanent desire to preserve the richness and diversity of the spiritual components of the Kingdom and its authentic heritage.
Upon his arrival at “Bayt Dakira”, HM the King was greeted by the Sovereign Advisor, president of the Essaouira-Mogador Association, André Azoulay, and by the members of the Scientific Committee of “Bayt Dakira” and of the office of the Essaouira-Mogador Association, initiator of this project, as well as the architects in charge of the restoration of this project.
The Sovereign was then greeted by the Chief Rabbi of Casablanca, Joseph Israel, and Chief Rabbi David Pinto, before visiting the “Slat Attia” prayer hall, one of the most emblematic synagogues of Essaouira-Mogador which reflects the exceptional singularity and richness of Moroccan Judaism.
The Sovereign was subsequently greeted by Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Afterwards, André Azoulay presented to HM the King, Commander of the Faithful, the two Holy Books: The Koran and the Torah.
On this occasion, the cantor Michel Abittan performed religious songs, before the Chief Rabbi of Casablanca, Joseph Israel, pronounced a blessing for HM King Mohammed VI, may God preserve him.
Subsequently, HM the King Advisor, president of the Essaouira-Mogador Association, André Azoulay, delivered an address before the Sovereign in which he affirmed that the Sovereign’s visit seals the rebirth of the city of Essaouira, which has always been turned towards the rest of the world, noting that it is a historic day that bears the imprint of “our secular and millenary Morocco that has been able to protect the very great diversity, which is the central wealth of our country”.
“This house is the house of memory and history. It is also that of the Moroccan compass that the world needs today, a world in search of landmarks, a world that turns its back on all those values that are those of our country under the leadership of HM the King, Commander of the Faithful,” Azoulay added.
“Bayt Dakira” is a place of memory that tells through objects, texts, photos and film the exceptional saga of Judaism in the city of Essaouira and its heritage.
“Bayt Dakira”, which presents and explains all the passages of Jewish life in Essaouira, from birth to death and from Bar Mitzvah to marriage, is also a place of pedagogy thanks to the Haim and Celia Zafrani Research Center on the history of Relations between Judaism and Islam, which constitutes a space for exchange between researchers from different horizons and a platform for sharing, transmission and resistance to amnesia.
At the end of the visit, HM the King, Commander of the Faithful, was greeted by 27 personalities from the Moroccan Jewish community and the world.