The Ruins of a Remote Jewish Community in Morocco Could Be a Treasure Trove for Researchers

In the middle of the last century, Morocco was home to some 250,000 Jews. Today, their descendants make up a sizeable portion of Israel’s population. Ofer Aderet reports on the discovery of the remains of a forgotten Moroccan Jewish community deep in the Atlas Mountains, near the Sahara Desert:

The small Jewish community of Tamanart lived there from the 16th century to the early 19th century. Recently, researchers from Israel, Morocco, and France conducted salvage excavations in its ruined synagogue. Along with the building’s walls, they found Scriptures and pages from the synagogue’s genizah, a repository for damaged written matter and ritual objects, as well as a few paper amulets. One was meant to protect a woman in labor and her newborn, another a personal charm meant to protect its owner from trouble and disease.

Over the past two decades, the Moroccan royal family has initiated and given support to a host of projects meant to preserve the kingdom’s Jewish history. . . . This plan also encompasses the project undertaken by the abovementioned researchers. The synagogue in Tamanart, a village with 6,000 residents, is just one of the locations on an honorable list of Jewish sites in a large region in the southern part of Morocco.

The list includes the adjacent village of Ifrane, which, according to tradition, was home to one of the oldest Jewish communities in North Africa and the oldest one in Morocco. Some traditions say that after the destruction of the First Temple, refugees fleeing Jerusalem established a Jewish kingdom in Ifrane, headed by a king called Efrati. The village was also known for a tragic incident which occurred there in 1792, when 50 members of the Jewish community jumped into a burning furnace after the local ruler made them choose between converting to Islam or death by fire. They’ve been called “the immolated” since then, their ashes interred in the ancient local cemetery.

Read more at Haaretz

More about: Archaeology, Moroccan Jewry, Morocco, Synagogues

Universities Are in Thrall to a Constituency That Sees Israel as an Affront to Its Identity

Commenting on the hearings of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on Tuesday about anti-Semitism on college campuses, and the dismaying testimony of three university presidents, Jonah Goldberg writes:

If some retrograde poltroon called for lynching black people or, heck, if they simply used the wrong adjective to describe black people, the all-seeing panopticon would spot it and deploy whatever resources were required to deal with the problem. If the spark of intolerance flickered even for a moment and offended the transgendered, the Muslim, the neurodivergent, or whomever, the fire-suppression systems would rain down the retardant foams of justice and enlightenment. But calls for liquidating the Jews? Those reside outside the sensory spectrum of the system.

It’s ironic that the term colorblind is “problematic” for these institutions such that the monitoring systems will spot any hint of it, in or out of the classroom (or admissions!). But actual intolerance for Jews is lathered with a kind of stealth paint that renders the same systems Jew-blind.

I can understand the predicament. The receptors on the Islamophobia sensors have been set to 11 for so long, a constituency has built up around it. This constituency—which is multi-ethnic, non-denominational, and well entrenched among students, administrators, and faculty alike—sees Israel and the non-Israeli Jews who tolerate its existence as an affront to their worldview and Muslim “identity.” . . . Blaming the Jews for all manner of evils, including the shortcomings of the people who scapegoat Jews, is protected because, at minimum, it’s a “personal truth,” and for some just the plain truth. But taking offense at such things is evidence of a mulish inability to understand the “context.”

Shocking as all that is, Goldberg goes on to argue, the anti-Semitism is merely a “symptom” of the insidious ideology that has taken over much of the universities as well as an important segment of the hard left. And Jews make the easiest targets.

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel on campus, University