“From Casablanca to NYC: A Night of Moroccan Culture” was a celebratory success!
An evening of education and culture was created on May 17th by AJC ACCESS NY, the American Sephardi Federation, Association Mimouna, and the Moroccan community in New York at the Center for Jewish History, New York.
The event attracted more than 400 people of all nationalities and religions. The guests celebrated the love and friendship between Morocco and the Jewish world. It was a one-night festival of music, dancing, and food, which followed a program featuring scholars and diplomats.
ATTENDEES: Mehdi Bensaid, Chairman of the Moroccan Parliament's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, flew in from Morocco exclusively to participate in a “From Casablanca to NY’s” panel discussion with Abderrazzak Laassel, Deputy Permanent Representative of The Kingdom of Morocco to the UN. Jason Isaacson, AJC Associate Executive Director for Policy, moderated.
Carlos Benaim, a member of ASF’s Board of Directors, native of Tangier, Morocco, and internationally renowned perfumer (Yves Saint Laurent’s L'Homme Libre, Elisabeth Taylor’s White Diamonds, Ralph Lauren’s Supreme Oud) introduced the event.
Jason Guberman-Pfeffer, ASF’s Executive Director, gave the audience a tour of Jewish sites in Morocco, including the Baba Sali’s Home in Risani and Haim Pinto Synagogue in Essouira, and encouraged them to help the Diarna Geo-Museum of North African and Middle Eastern Jewish Life digitally document and preserve synagogues, schools, shrines, and other structures throughout the region.
Mohammed Benabdeljalil, The Kingdom of Morocco’s Consul General in New York, praised AJC for its diplomatic initiatives, and particularly for strengthening the American Jewish community’s friendship with Morocco, a critical relationship in a tumultuous region.
Dr. John P. Entelis (Fordham University) spoke about Morocco’s leading role as a moderate Muslim state in the region, highlighting challenges and impressive achievements, as well as praising the leadership of King Mohammad VI and his forbearers, King Hasan II and Mohammad V.
ACCESS, AJC's Young Leadership Program, prepares the next generation of Jewish leaders to engage the key issues facing the global Jewish community. ACCESS empowers young Jewish activists to shape the conversation on today's critical domestic and international issues by reaching out to diplomats, opinion makers, and young leaders of diverse religious and ethnic backgrounds.
The American Sephardi Federation (ASF)—a Partner of the Center for Jewish History, Diarna-Geo Museum, and Association Mimouna—is a membership organization that collects, connects, and celebrates the rich mosaic culture of Jews from the Middle East and throughout the greater Sephardic Diaspora.
Association MIMOUNA is an organization of Moroccan Muslim students who preserve and promote the unique heritage of Morocco's ancient Jewish community.
Co-Sponsors of the event include Morocco’s Tourism Office and Nahmias et Fils distillery.