Zhour Rahihel… the curator of Moroccan Jewish heritage

All those who spoke with Zhour Rahihel, curator of the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Casablanca, were immediately struck by her great passion for Moroccan Jewish heritage, a passion that dates back to her adolescence, when she began to ask herself many questions about Jews and to try to discover the heritage they have enriched Morocco with, as one of the country’s most important cultural components.

Those who know her closely describe her as an educated and open minded woman who loves her homeland and works hard to preserve Morocco’s Jewish heritage, both through her writings and research, but also through her work as curator of the Museum of Moroccan Jewish Heritage.

Zhour Rahihel is not only the first Muslim woman to hold the position of curator of a Jewish museum since 2002, but she is also the first Muslim woman to specialize in Moroccan Jewish heritage. She studied journalism at the Higher Institute of Communication in Rabat, but also anthropology, heritage and archaeology. All her final studies were devoted to Judaism. She looked at the moussem of the “hailloula” in Ben Ahmed, just as she was interested in “the worship of Jewish saints in Casablanca”.

Zhour Rahihel was among the militants of the Palestinian cause. At a very young age, she was in love with Mahmoud Darwish’s poems. The Arab-Israeli conflict has prompted her to try to understand. She began with the Jews of Morocco, before meeting her “godfather” Simon Levy, a famous Moroccan writer, politician and researcher in Jewish history in Morocco, who opened her eyes to the contributions of Moroccan Jews to the country’s culture and civilization, before offering her the opportunity to be part of the team at the Moroccan Jewish Heritage Museum.

Today, Zhour Rahihel continues her mission to promote Jewish heritage in Morocco and the coexistence of Muslims and Jews in this country, which is an exception among Arab countries, through a unique radio program called “Nass El Mellah”. Broadcast weekly (every Thursday) on Med Radio from 6pm. This program is devoted to the customs and traditions of Moroccans of the Jewish faith, whether in terms of gastronomy, clothing, music, etc.

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