Dubai: Morocco has opened the Arab world’s first synagogue on a university campus, Moroccan and Israeli media reported.
The synagogue is called Beit Allah (the House of God). The Mimouna Association, a Muslim-founded Moroccan nonprofit organisation that aims to promote the country’s Jewish heritage, and the American Sephardi Federation, which has offices in the kingdom and other Arab countries, both facilitated the opening of the synagogue.
The event was attended by Rabbi Elie Abadie, the senior rabbi of the Jewish Council in the UAE; Magda Haroun, President of the Egyptian Jewish Community; and Jacky Kadoch, President of the Jewish community of Marrakech-Essaouira. Guests also included representatives from Mimouna Association and other Moroccan Jewish and non-Jewish leaders.
El Mehdi Boudra, Mimouna Association founder and President, said that not only was a synagogue built on a campus in the Arab world for the first time ever, but it was also built next to a new mosque - “with only a wall between them” - as an illustration of Moroccan co-existence in action.
“It’s not a large synagogue, but it can hold a minyan [the quorum of ten men required for public Jewish prayer services], and the Torah scrolls as well as all the holy items were provided by the Jewish communities of Fez and Marrakech,” he explained.
Israel and Morocco agreed to establish diplomatic relations in December 2020, two months after the Abraham Accords were signed. The new synagogue at the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P) symbolizes the ongoing embrace of the Jewish world by the North African country.