Moroccan Jewish culture is diverse in language, history, and culture. Over a two thousand year period, Moroccan Jews created a unique and incredibly rich Jewish heritage which traces its roots to both Sephardic Spanish Jews, who fled the anti-Jewish persecution which culminated in the Inquisition, and to an indigenous Moroccan Jewish population known as “Toshavim”. As Jews within Morocco faced persecution, many fled to mountain villages, where they interacted with local Berber tribes.
The Jews of Morocco speak numerous languages including Arabic, Berber, Spanish, Judeo-Arabic, Judeo-Spanish (Ladino), French and English. The rich culinary, musical, and religious traditions of Moroccan Jews are infused with Arabic, French, and Spanish influences, yet remain uniquely Moroccan. As over 250,000 Moroccan Jews dispersed to France, Venezuela, Israel, Canada, and the United States, many have been able to successfully preserve and share their beautiful traditions. For example, in Israel, the Moroccan Jewish post-Pesach holiday of Mimouna is now widely embraced and celebrated by Jews of all backgrounds.
JIMENA works to ensure that the cultural heritage of Moroccan Jews, and all Mizrahi and Sephardi Jews, will survive to benefit future generations. We have been leading unique Cultural Outreach Programming since our establishment in 2001, giving Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews a platform on which to celebrate and share their rich culture with diverse audiences throughout North America. JIMENA is dedicated to preserving and sharing Mizrahi and Sephardi culture through traditional celebrations, festivals, lectures, and cultural series.