Morocco opens centre for Jewish culture

Morocco’s king has inaugurated a centre dedicated to Jewish culture in the city of Essaouira.

King Mohammed VI attended the inauguration for Bayt Dakira, which means House of Memory in Arabic.

The port city was formerly home to a large population of Jews, who at one point made up 40 percent of the population. Today, less than a handful of Jews reside in the city.

The centre is located in a restored home that houses a small synagogue and includes a museum, research centre and space that will host cultural events. The project was created by Andre Azoulay, a France-educated Moroccan Jew who serves as a senior adviser to the king.

Most of the funding came from the Moroccan government, with a quarter coming from private donors.

Among a number of high-profile Moroccan Jews who attended the event and a dinner with the king afterwards were Azoulay and his daughter, Audrey, who serves as the director-general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO, Moroccan Jewish comedian Gad Elmaleh and the chief rabbi of Geneva, Switzerland Izhak Dayan.

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