Jewish Morocco with Dr. Emily Gottreich

Jewish Morocco with Dr. Emily Gottreich


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This seminar guides you through the history of Moroccan Jewish civilization from its Berber roots in the Saharan oases through the process of Arabization in the royal cities of Fez, Marrakech, and Meknes, and ultimately to its final transformation through the encounter with French (and Spanish) colonialism.

Morocco was once home to the largest Jewish community in the Arab world, as well as one of its oldest. We often call this community Sephardic, but in fact, the exiled Jews from Spain form just one part of the complex mosaic of Moroccan Jewry. This conversation will trace the full historical trajectory of Jewish Morocco from its beginnings in the pre-Islamic era to today. We will pay special attention to the spaces and places that Jews inscribed with meaning through the routines of daily life: the “mellahs” of the royal capitals, the only walled Jewish quarters outside of European ghetto; the trade routes and lively souks where Jews earned their living, and of course the synagogues and “saints’” tombs where Jews prayed.

Led by an expert in the history of Jewish Morocco, Dr. Emily Gottriech, this interactive seminar will provide an in-depth inquiry into the heritage and history of Jewish civilization in Morocco. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with increased knowledge about this rich and surprising history.

Emily Gottreich is an expert in Moroccan Jewish history and Muslim-Jewish relations in the Arab-Islamic world more broadly. She is the author of The Mellah of Marrakech: Jewish and Muslim Space in Morocco’s Red City, published in French translation by the University of Mohammed V Press in Rabat in 2016, and co-editor with Daniel Schroeter of Jewish Culture and Society in North Africa (Indiana University Press: 2011). Her most recent book is Jewish Morocco: A History from Pre-Islamic Times to the Present. She currently serves as Adjunct Professor in Global Studies and the Department of History at the University of California, Berkeley, where from 2014-2020 she also served as the Chair of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies. Prof. Gottreich received her BA in Middle Eastern Studies from UC Berkeley, and her MA and PhD in Middle Eastern Studies and History from Harvard University. She is a three-time Fulbright awardee, a past president of the American Institute for Maghrib Studies, and a winner of the Phi Beta Kappa award for Excellence in Teaching.

Not suitable for children under age 13 (sensitive content).

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 36 reviews
83%
(30)
14%
(5)
3%
(1)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
P
P.B.
So interesting and illuminating

This was such a wonderful way to go to Morocco for 90 minutes. Totally enjoyable.

M
M.
A really fabulous and informative lecture

I've been to Morocco multiple times, and while I've heard about the Fez and Meknes Mellahs and about the almost legendary rapport between the Sultans of Morocco and the Jewish population, Dr. Gottreich managed to pack more into an hour lecture than I had learned in all my prior visits. In particular, the distinction between Berber Jewish tradition and Sephardic Jewish tradition was fascinating. Thank you so much for this rich detail.

N
N.P.
Very Informative

The presentation was very well organized and presented. I particularly enjoyed the video clips.

B
B.G.
An excellent lecture

This was such a well organized and very informative lecture. I loved the photos and the two sound examples Dr. Gottreich played. I now feel I have a better grasp of the history of the Jews in Morocco and I am looking forward to traveling there.

M
M.L.
Engaging & Brilliant Scholar

Dr. Gottreich~
In 1973, I spent a month in Morocco, mostly off the beaten path and it was heaven. You transported me back there in an instant.

I am a Jew by choice, married to an Israeli. We both learned so much from the breadth and depth of your talk. With our April 2020 trip to Israel cancelled (and probably on hold indefinitely now), I think going back to Morocco, and making the connection to the Jewish heritage there might assuage some of that loss.

I loved your insights into the history and nature of the Jews in the region and the comparisons to their European counterparts. The glimpse of what a truly integrated society can look like was tantalizing and hopeful, and your comments about women in the Mellah were eye-opening.

Your obvious joy in your subject kept us completely engaged. Thank you so much for sharing your time.
Warm regards, ~Margot Law & Arye Hess

Customer Reviews

Based on 36 reviews
83%
(30)
14%
(5)
3%
(1)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
P
P.B.
So interesting and illuminating

This was such a wonderful way to go to Morocco for 90 minutes. Totally enjoyable.

M
M.
A really fabulous and informative lecture

I've been to Morocco multiple times, and while I've heard about the Fez and Meknes Mellahs and about the almost legendary rapport between the Sultans of Morocco and the Jewish population, Dr. Gottreich managed to pack more into an hour lecture than I had learned in all my prior visits. In particular, the distinction between Berber Jewish tradition and Sephardic Jewish tradition was fascinating. Thank you so much for this rich detail.

N
N.P.
Very Informative

The presentation was very well organized and presented. I particularly enjoyed the video clips.

B
B.G.
An excellent lecture

This was such a well organized and very informative lecture. I loved the photos and the two sound examples Dr. Gottreich played. I now feel I have a better grasp of the history of the Jews in Morocco and I am looking forward to traveling there.

M
M.L.
Engaging & Brilliant Scholar

Dr. Gottreich~
In 1973, I spent a month in Morocco, mostly off the beaten path and it was heaven. You transported me back there in an instant.

I am a Jew by choice, married to an Israeli. We both learned so much from the breadth and depth of your talk. With our April 2020 trip to Israel cancelled (and probably on hold indefinitely now), I think going back to Morocco, and making the connection to the Jewish heritage there might assuage some of that loss.

I loved your insights into the history and nature of the Jews in the region and the comparisons to their European counterparts. The glimpse of what a truly integrated society can look like was tantalizing and hopeful, and your comments about women in the Mellah were eye-opening.

Your obvious joy in your subject kept us completely engaged. Thank you so much for sharing your time.
Warm regards, ~Margot Law & Arye Hess