Uncovering the Lost Graves of Morocco’s Rabbinic Sages

In the Moroccan city of Tétouan, a concerted effort to restore the 500-year-old Jewish cemetery has led to the rediscovery of the graves of three celebrated local rabbis: Jacob Ben Malca, Hasday Almosnino, and Jacob Marrache. Leading the project is a British descendent of the last rabbi, who shares his name. Georgia Gilholy writes:

A scholar and revered religious judge (dayan), Ben Malca moved to Tétouan from Fez—some 150 miles to the southeast—in 1734 to become the head of the religious court. Almosnino, who was born in Tétouan in 1640 and lived in Gibraltar, was also an accomplished arbiter of Jewish law, who left behind impressive published works.

The Marrache whose grave was just rediscovered is the ancestor of the London-based Marrache, who called his namesake “a more enigmatic figure.” Born in 1640, the Kabbalist specialized in the writings of the 16th-century Rabbi Isaac Luria (known as the “Ari”) and in the Zohar, the foundational kabbalistic text. “His commentary on the Zohar earned him fame, and his teachings inspired a generation of devoted students whose thoughts remain influential today,” the younger Marrache said of his ancestor.

Morocco’s Jewish community dates back to antiquity. By 1948, there were about 270,000 Jews living there. That number plummeted to an estimated 2,300 Jews as of 2015. Experts are still piecing together the fractured memories left behind, and the fact that many of the tombs, which line the slopes of Mount Dersa, lack inscriptions compounds the erasure of prior Jewish communities.

Read more at JNS

More about: Jewish cemeteries, Moroccan Jewry, Rabbis

While Israel Is Distracted on Two Fronts, Iran Is on the Verge of Building Nuclear Weapons

Iran recently announced its plans to install over 1,000 new advanced centrifuges at its Fordow nuclear facility. Once they are up and running, the Institute for Science and International Security assesses, Fordow will be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for three nuclear bombs in a mere ten days. The U.S. has remained indifferent. Jacob Nagel writes:

For more than two decades, Iran has continued its efforts to enhance its nuclear-weapons capability—mainly by enriching uranium—causing Israel and the world to concentrate on the fissile material. The International Atomic Energy Agency recently confirmed that Iran has a huge stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent, as well as more enriched to 20 percent, and the IAEA board of governors adopted the E3 (France, Germany, UK) proposed resolution to censure Iran for the violations and lack of cooperation with the agency. The Biden administration tried to block it, but joined the resolution when it understood its efforts to block it had failed.

To clarify, enrichment of uranium above 20 percent is unnecessary for most civilian purposes, and transforming 20-percent-enriched uranium to the 90-percent-enriched product necessary for producing weapons is a relatively small step. Washington’s reluctance even to express concern about this development appears to stem from an unwillingness to acknowledge the failures of President Obama’s nuclear policy. Worse, writes Nagel, it is turning a blind eye to efforts at weaponization. But Israel has no such luxury:

Israel must adopt a totally new approach, concentrating mainly on two main efforts: [halting] Iran’s weaponization actions and weakening the regime hoping it will lead to its replacement. Israel should continue the fight against Iran’s enrichment facilities (especially against the new deep underground facility being built near Natanz) and uranium stockpiles, but it should not be the only goal, and for sure not the priority.

The biggest danger threatening Israel’s existence remains the nuclear program. It would be better to confront this threat with Washington, but Israel also must be fully prepared to do it alone.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy