Mimouna, Moroccan Jewish Music, and Montreal

Thanks to a proclamation from Mayor Muriel Bowser, Washington, DC officially recognized yesterday as “Mimouna, a Festival of Good Neighbors.” Yet this traditional North African Jewish celebration, which in recent years has become increasingly mainstream in Israel and even in parts of the Diaspora, in fact took place last week, marking the conclusion of Passover. Mimouna’s origins and etymology are unclear. One common explanation states that it marks the anniversary of the death of Maimon ben Joseph, father of the great Rabbi Moses Maimonides; another that it is a leyl emunah, or “night of faith.”

Avi Finegold and Phoebe Maltz Bovy take the occasion to discuss not just the holiday itself, but also the musical traditions of North African Jewry, the Moroccan Jewish community of Montreal, and that community’s greatest musician, Samy Elmaghribi, with Christopher Silver. (Audio, 54 minutes.)

Read more at Bonjour Chai

More about: Canadian Jewry, Jewish holidays, Jewish music, Montreal, Moroccan Jewry

Only Hamas’s Defeat Can Pave the Path to Peace

Opponents of the IDF’s campaign in Gaza often appeal to two related arguments: that Hamas is rooted in a set of ideas and thus cannot be defeated militarily, and that the destruction in Gaza only further radicalizes Palestinians, thus increasing the threat to Israel. Rejecting both lines of thinking, Ghaith al-Omar writes:

What makes Hamas and similar militant organizations effective is not their ideologies but their ability to act on them. For Hamas, the sustained capacity to use violence was key to helping it build political power. Back in the 1990s, Hamas’s popularity was at its lowest point, as most Palestinians believed that liberation could be achieved by peaceful and diplomatic means. Its use of violence derailed that concept, but it established Hamas as a political alternative.

Ever since, the use of force and violence has been an integral part of Hamas’s strategy. . . . Indeed, one lesson from October 7 is that while Hamas maintains its military and violent capabilities, it will remain capable of shaping the political reality. To be defeated, Hamas must be denied that. This can only be done through the use of force.

Any illusions that Palestinian and Israeli societies can now trust one another or even develop a level of coexistence anytime soon should be laid to rest. If it can ever be reached, such an outcome is at best a generational endeavor. . . . Hamas triggered war and still insists that it would do it all again given the chance, so it will be hard-pressed to garner a following from Palestinians in Gaza who suffered so horribly for its decision.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict