2nd Edition

Why a Second Edition ?

The conference provided a whole new perspective on Jewish Africa and a realization that across the continent there is a Jewish life with ups and downs alongside a relatively new, growing Jewish identity which requires a better understanding.

     Building on the findings and conclusions of the Strategic Planning Lunch, a session with the goal of Developing Plans and Projects for the Future of Jewish Africa, the focus groups determined that most of the recommendations converged toward one major idea which is the need to organize a second edition of the Jewish Africa Conference in the African continent.

The Context

Since Biblical times, from Abrahams journey to Egypt and the later Israelite captivity under the Pharaohs, the Jewish People have had close ties with Africa. Some Jewish communities in Africa are amongst the oldest in the world, dating back more than 2,700 years (Morocco, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, and Algeria). Today, Jews and Judaism in Africa show an ethnic and religious diversity and richness almost unparalleled on any other continent.

The Speakers

This summit will convene leaders of several Jewish African communities across the continent as well as Jewish African studies specialists and Academic researchers to speak about the Jewish life in Africa, the history of the Jewish African tribes and the contemporary situation of these minorities.

The Guests

The summit is honored by the presence of several diplomats including the Consul General of Morocco, UN Representatives, but also representatives and ambassadors from South Sudan, Ethiopia, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco and Israel, and especially Mr Adama Dieng, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Adviser for the Prevention of Genocide

Jono David Exhibit

This conference will create an opportunity for the participants to discover the cultural richness of the African Jewish communities; across the continent, through some photographs taken by some famous anthropologists.

The Venue

Morocco is and has always been a true crossroad of ways of life, civilizations, and religions both geographically and culturally speaking. Bringing Jewish African communities to Morocco would not only strengthen the connection between the African nations, but also shed the light on the work Morocco has been doing to preserve diversity.

Why in Rabat ?
A city of religious tolerance

Rabat has traditionally been a crossroads of the Moroccan cultural heritage. It is a combination of the Amazigh, Mediterranean, Jewish, African, Muslim, and Andalusian cultures and a global platform for promoting the values of coexistence and dialogue between cultures. In 2019, after 35 years of the papal visit of Jean-Paul II, Rabat welcomed Pope Francis, the spiritual leader of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics as part of the development of interreligious dialogue.

Rabat has been chosen as the Islamic world’s cultural capital for 2022 by the Islamic World Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), in appreciation of the city’s successful implementation of an urban and cultural development program initiated in 2015. Rabat’s nomination by ISESCO is based on the successful implementation of the “Rabat Capital of Culture, City of Lights” initiative which was launched by HM King Mohamed VI to protect the city’s cultural history while simultaneously making local services and facilities more accessible. On June 2nd, 2022, Rabat was officially elected as the capital of African culture to recognize the rhythm of important cultural events that carry the African dimension and which reflects the commitment of the Kingdom to work for the African continent.

Thus, Mimouna Association believes that Rabat is the perfect city to host the second edition of the Jewish Africa Conference, an opportunity to gather groups of Jewish African academics, diplomats, religious figures, and activists to enshrine interfaith dialogue and cultural preservation.

Cabo Verde
Guest of Honor 2021

Cabo Verde is an archipelago of ten small islands off the coast of the African continent. In the 19th century, a group of mostly Jewish men from different Moroccan cities sailed across the Atlantic Ocean to settle on the African Islands in quest for better economic opportunities.

The advent of the North African Jewish community added to the cauldron of Portuguese-African cultures in the country. Today, there is a proud community of those Moroccan immigrants with some distinctly Moroccan Jewish last names like (Benchimol, Benlolo, Benoliel, Maman and Pinto).

The Jewish Moroccan community in Cabo Verde had intermarried with catholic women and had gradually lost affiliation with their Jewish Sephardic customs and tradition, However, The Moroccan surnames, etched onto the gravestones in the burial grounds across the islands, are considered as a tangible reminder of the Jewish North African presence in this African region.

In 2015, the Moroccan ministry of migration and Moroccan living abroad invited a delegation of Cape Verdeans from Jewish descent to visit the land of their ancestors. This visit to Morocco, which was at the invitation and the expense of the Moroccan government, was extremely meaningful. The ten Cape Verdeans toured Morocco to visit the cities from which many of the Jews of Cabo Verde hailed.

With the financial support of HM king Mohammed VI and his deep commitment in preserving the cultural heritage of the Moroccan Jewish Diaspora, the Cape Verde Jewish Heritage project restored multiple Jewish cemeteries on different islands of the archipelago. The restoration of the Jewish cemeteries, on the Christian islands, by the Muslim monarchy sent a strong and a powerful message to the world that religious harmony and coexistence is not a myth.

Jewish African Summit
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