The largest rabbinic gathering in the Middle East, excluding Israel, began in Morocco on May 16, with about 60 Chabad rabbis arriving from some 40 countries across Africa, Europe and the Middle East, the Chassidic movement stated. Many of their families joined them for an expected total of 200 people.
The three-day conference aims to strengthen “Jewish life, awareness and practice in Muslim-majority countries, as well as those with relatively small Jewish populations, and celebrates the renaissance of Jewish life in these regions,” according to a release. It is taking place in Fez, once home to physician and scholar Maimonides.
Per Chabad, Serge Bardugo, president of Morocco’s Jewish communities, is to be present at the event. Rabbi David Banon, of Montreal and previously of Casablanca, recited the traditional blessing upon seeing a king in front of King of Morocco Mohammed VI.
“Rabbis coming together in a Muslim country for the purpose of strengthening Jewish life is an important indication of the future of Jewish life in the region,” said Rabbi Mendy Chitrik, director of Chabad of Turkey in Istanbul and chairman of the Alliance of Rabbis in Islamic States.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe—Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson—first sent emissaries, or shluchim, to Morocco in 1950.