Northern Cities and Towns


Kosher butcher in Tangier, with store sign in Spanish, French and Hebrew.


Tetouan has an important mellah with several synagogues that have been turned into houses. The Ben Gualid, Pintada and Crudo Synagogues have all been dismantled within the last few years. The major synagogue still in use is in the European city.  A Jewish social club is used by the 150 Jews still living in Tetouan as well as by Muslims. Tetouan is the site of the first Alliance Israelite Universelle school, established in 1862 after Morocco regained control of the city from the Spanish. The cemetery, located on Monte Dersa, is vast. The major saint is Isaac Benoualide. Near-by Tetouan is Ceuta (Sebta), a Spanish enclave on the Mediterranean coast. Spanish Jews maintain the modern synagogue and ancient cemetery.


Tangier had no formal mellah, but instead an unprotected Jewish quarter. On Rue des Synagogues, there are many closed synagogues. One of them, Temple Benatar, has been restored and is superbly decorated. Near-by is the American Legation Museum, located in the oldest American consulate in continuous use. Between its founding in 1829 and the establishment of Tangier as an international city in 1923, many Moroccan Jews served as American proteges, putting them beyond the law of the Sultan. During World War II, the Legation played an important role in processing Jewish refugees from Europe. Visible from the Legation Museum is Tangier's Jewish cemetery, where the saint Mordehai Bengio is buried. The community center in the European city proudly displays a copy of the royal decree negotiated by Moses Montefiore in 1864 demanding that Moroccan Government officials provide equal treatment to Jews. Montefiore passed through Tangier on the way to negotiate the decree in Marrakesh. Tangier has a very visible synagogue in the center of the European city, Chaare Raphael. On the ocean cliffs are found the stone outlines of the tombs of the Phoenicians, who came with Jews to Tangier almost three thousand years ago. A short ferry ride away from Tangier lies Gibraltar, with a large and historic Jewish community.

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