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Revisiting Mimouna, a Moroccan Jewish Passover Celebration

Revisiting Mimouna, a Moroccan Jewish Passover Celebration

Tonight, the Israel Religious Action Center is hosting its first-ever Mimouna celebration.

Mimouna is one of five national holidays created after the founding of Israel in 1948. This traditional Moroccan Jewish celebration marks the return to eating chametz after nightfall, on the last day of Passover. Not many people know this, but originally, the Mimouna was a holiday that marked the good relations between the Jews and their Muslim neighbors in Morocco. At the end of the Passover holiday, the Jews would welcome all visitors back into their homes and their Muslim neighbors would bring presents and flour to prepare moflettas.

IRAC seeks to revitalize the original spirit of the festival as part of a wider initiative to create positive interactions between Jews and Arabs in Israel. The project is being led by our fieldworker, Tal Abitbol, who wants to reclaim the holiday that her grandparents used to celebrate in Morocco. We will be organizing Mimouna festivities in Jerusalem's First Train Station, and in Yaffo. Jews and Arabs will join in eating moflettas together. There will be bands playing Eastern and Arabic music, activities for children, and storytellers talking about the coexistence that prevailed in North Africa.

Every Passover, we begin the holiday by placing ourselves among those who left Egypt. We remember that we were strangers in a strange land. This Passover, we will end the holiday by celebrating our different cultures, dancing to the melodies that sing our history, and planting the seeds of coexistence to come.

On behalf of the entire IRAC staff, I wish you a free and happy Passover.

Anat Hoffman is the executive director of the Israel Religious Action Center, the public and legal advocacy arm of the Reform Jewish Movement in Israel. She is also the chairwoman of Women of the Wall, a group of Jewish women and men from around the world who strive to achieve the right of women to wear prayer shawls, pray, and read from the Torah collectively and out loud at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

Anat Hoffman

Published: 4/21/2014

Categories: Jewish Holidays, Passover, Israel, Celebrations in Israel, Living in Israel
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