Boris Toledano… the wise man of the community

Boris Toledano, former head of the Jewish community in Casablanca, was one of Morocco’s most important Jewish personalities. He was deeply respected by Jews, as well as Muslims in the kingdom, and his memory is still present in hearts. Thus, it was not surprising that his funeral brought together many officials and senior officials, headed by the Minister of Habous and Islamic Affairs, Ahmed Tawfiq, as a sign of gratitude for what he did for interfaith coexistence and tolerance between Muslims and Jews in this exceptional country of Morocco.

His relatives claim that he was a great man who remained faithful to his country and to the glorious throne of the Alawids until his last breath, while remaining at the disposal of all members of his community, to support them if necessary. His friend Serge Berdigo, who held his post after his death, described him as the “wise man of the community”, whom he presided over for 40 years, during which he fought in his favor, undertook numerous charitable actions and revived the Moroccan Jewish heritage by restoring many cemeteries and sanctuaries. He has also worked for the promotion of the “Hailoula” as well as for the construction of schools, among other works that are listed under his name.

This is certainly why HM King Mohammed VI awarded him the Order of the Throne in 2006, a distinction he has always considered to be his most precious possession.

Toledano was born in Larache in 1921 to a well-known Jewish family. His father was a clerk. As for her mother, she is from the Jews of Andalusia who took refuge in Morocco several centuries ago to escape the inquisition. “He was humble and generous. He helped the poor and needy and served the people. He was the father of all Moroccan Jews,” said community members who lived with him and knew him well.

At a very young age, Toledano emigrated to Spain to pursue his studies. There, he joined Franco’s army and fought alongside him before fleeing to Morocco when he realized that this war was not his own. In Casablanca, where he started in business and commerce, he fought the colonizer and became known for his charitable works, just as he helped the poor and needy. He continued his work and dedication to serving the members of his community until his death at the age of 97.

“Just as he lived in peace, Toledano died in peace. We may have lost the best person among us. He is one of the last extraordinary generation of Jewish Moroccans. He fought against the French occupation and continued to work for the integration of Moroccan Jews into the social fabric of their country. »

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