Coastal Cities and Towns

   Postcard and photos of Saint Rabbi Raphael Encaoua, whose hiloula is
celebrated in the cemetery of Sale.


Rabat's sister city of Sale had its own mellah. It was an important center of Jewish intellectual thought. The main door to the mellah and the beautiful Medersa were constructed by the Merenids, who had close ties to the Jews. Sale's most famous rabbi, Raphael Encaoua, is buried in the Sale cemetery. His tomb is the focus of a major hiloula.

El Jadida (Mazagan)

In El Jadida, south of Casablanca, the 18th century Portuguese citadel later served as the Jewish quarter. It is possible to climb the bastions, where a star of David can be seen on an abandoned synagogue, which was converted from a Portuguese court house. Next to the Portuguese city is a large Jewish cemetery. The tombstones of Jewish translators and employees of foreign consuls demonstrates the Jewish role in 19th century trade with Europe. The saint Yahia Assouline is buried in this cemetery.

Essaouira (Mogador)

Essaouira's mellah covers over 10 percent of the town, but Jews constituted almost 40 percent of the population in the late 1880's. Jewish stars on the doors to the mellah show the degree to which Jews were accepted in Essaouira, to the point that some of the richer Jews did not even live in the mellah. Commemorative plaques indicate the buildings in which synagogues were located. Former inhabitants of Essaouira, most of them Jewish, formed a committee to rehabilitate the town. An important member of the committee is King Hassan II's Economic Advisor, Andre Azoulay. The Jewish cemetery, just outside the city gates, is extremely well-kept. The hiloula of Chaim Pinto is held in September.

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