In many of the places they settled in Morocco, the new arrivals from Spain were collectively known in Hebrew as the megorashim (or ‘those expelled’), to distinguish them from the native Jews, the toshavim (or ‘residents’). In northern Morocoo, the refugees usually formed the majority of the community. In Fez, which contained Morocco’s largest Jewish community during this period, Spanish refugees exercised enormous influence on the religious and cultural life of the community. Their influence was also significant in the southern and eastern communities. In Debdu, a community in eastern Morocco where the majority of the town’s inhabitants were Jewish, Jews of Spanish origin appear to have formed the dominant family groups. In Marrakesh, the Spanish refugees were concentrated in one area and maintained separate synagogues. A French observer noted in 1903: “In Marrakesh there are both native and Spanish Jews. Each sect possesses synagogues and a Talmud-thora of its own…” Over the centuries, however, the descendants of Spanish Jewry in many Moroccan communities assimilated aspects of the indigenous Jewish culture, and thus gave bieth to a new, uniquely Moroccan cultural synthesis."
Morocco: Jews and Art in a Muslim Land, by Vivian B. Mann
The Sephardic Diaspora, pages 31-32
Women wait in line at a polling station to vote during presidential elections in Qom, south of Tehran, Iran on June 14, 2013.
[Credit : Ebrahim Noroozi/AP]
YOUTH HOLDING A CANDLE AND AN INCENSE BURNER — Iranian, Safavid period, circa 1640. Opaque watercolor and gold on paper. From the Johnson Museum of Art: ”The idealized youthful figure, whose gender seems ambiguous, wears a hat that suggests he is male. He is shown holding a burning candle and a censer from which thick smoke rises. A slight breeze blows his flowing garments and long, wispy locks of hair. A delicate background pattern of landscape elements and clouds, all painted in gold, creates an otherworldly setting. All of these features characterize the conventionalized images that were so popular during this period. Such depictions have strong poetic connotations, many related to Sufism (Islamic mysticism), that heightened the spiritual content of poetry and contributed new levels of meaning. In this context a painting of a youth could be a metaphor for earthly or divine beauty or love.”
A funeral at the Abdulazim shrine. Tehran, Iran. Oct 2006
© Paolo Pellegrin