A ceremony commemorating the 200th anniversary of the death of Rabbi Raphael Berdugo, one of the eminent figures of Moroccan Judaism, was held in the old Jewish cemetery of Meknes.
This ceremony took place on the sidelines of a symposium initiated, simultaneously in the Presidency in Israel, in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the death of Rabbi Raphael Berdugo, in the presence of Israeli President Isaac Herzog, Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem Shlomo Amar, rabbis and eminent academics.
During this ceremony, which took place in the presence of the Governor of the Prefecture of Meknes, Abdelghani Sabbar, the new President of the Council of the Fez-Meknes region, Abdelouahed El Ansari, and the Secretary General of the Council of Jewish Communities in Morocco, Serge Berdugo, the commemorative Mappa was placed on the tomb of the Tsadik.
Speaking on this occasion, the Secretary General of the Council of Jewish Communities in Morocco said that Rabbi Raphael Berdugo “is the most illustrious rabbi in his family, an unbroken line of spiritual guides and community leaders.
Rabbi Raphael “distinguished himself by his piety, depth of mind, knowledge and daring (…) and devoted his entire life to study, living in great poverty,” Berdugo said, adding that his work was “innovative” and “original” and dealt with many subjects.
According to Serge Berdugo, the most remarkable of his works is a translation into Moroccan Judeo-Arabic of the biblical texts, a work intended for teachers to rectify the errors accumulated over the centuries of oral transmission.
He emphasised that Rabbi Raphael Berdugo “is one of the rare Moroccan rabbis whose books were all printed, with the exception of one which he voluntarily refused to publish, fearing misunderstanding by his peers”.
Highlighting the rehabilitation of the old Jewish cemetery in Meknes, Berdugo recalled that this initiative came about following the decision of HM King Mohammed VI, Amir Al-Mouminine, on the rehabilitation of Jewish cemeteries in Morocco, adding that “this extraordinary royal initiative has allowed the safeguarding of more than 170 necropolises, which have regained their dignity, to the satisfaction of the families of the deceased.
“The Meknes cemetery is unique in the world with its tombs embedded in the historical wall. It was therefore necessary to carry out the rehabilitation work on the tombs together with that of the historical monuments,” he explained, adding that this operation is currently being completed.
Watch the ceremony :