The Hebrew Court of Casablanca: Judgments in the Name of His Majesty and the Talmud

The Jewish community residing in Morocco has a Hebrew court in Casablanca which rules on matters concerning Jews, including marriage, divorce, alimony and inheritance. Its sessions are held only rarely and the number of cases dealt with does not exceed 120 per year. As for the number of its judges, it does not exceed five rabbis who have received religious training. They are paid by the Moroccan State and they pronounce their judgments in the name of His Majesty King Mohammed VI and the Talmud.

The number of Jewish courts in Morocco has decreased in parallel with the decrease in the number of Jews residing there. About 30 years ago, there were 17 such courts in different parts of Morocco, but the Ministry of Justice has kept only one, attached to the Casablanca Court, after the emigration of a large number of Jews.

Judges of the Hebrew court are appointed by royal decree and must be proficient in Arabic and Hebrew. They are also responsible for circumcising Jewish children and ensuring the halal character of food, known in Jewish culture as “Kashrut”. They are chosen on the basis of their knowledge of the various Jewish laws and Hebrew jurisprudence. They are assisted by Jewish “adouls” who have received religious training, as well as Jewish and Muslim lawyers who plead the cases of their Jewish clients.

Jewish judges wear the robes of magistrates and a “yarmulke” on their heads. They exercise the same powers, receive the same salaries and have the same business cards as their Muslim counterparts.

Jewish judges make their decisions on the basis of the Torah and the Talmud, in addition to certain positive laws established by Moroccan rabbis, in accordance with the particularities of Moroccan Jewish culture.

It should be noted that the 2011 Constitution, in its preamble, recognized Jews as a major component and important tributary of Moroccan identity and culture.

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