Created By: Loren Baumberger
Casablanca has Morocco's largest concentration of synagogues and is home to the largest Jewish community in the Arab world. One of the most famous synagogues is the Temple Beth-El. The temple represents the area in which a vibrant Jewish community had once lived, in which only 2,000 now live in Casablanca. A majority of the Jewish population come to the Temple Beth-El to pray and celebrate. The magnificent architecture of the temple represents the beauty of the Jewish community in Morocco, such as the stained glass windows, chandeliers, and the white and gilded plaster. The Temple Beth-El was completely refurbished in 1997 in an effort to preserve Jewish history in Casablanca.
Although the Temple Beth-El is a Jewish synagogue, the temple also represents the peaceful coexistence of Muslims and Jewish people in Casablanca. Morocco's Jewish history dates all the way back to 70 CE and by the 1940s, 350,000 Jewish people were living in Morocco, making Morocco the home of the largest Jewish community until the founding of Israel in 1948. To Moroccans, Jewish and Islamic history is Moroccan history. Taylor Luck paints a picture of this unity at the Temple Beth-El, in which the congregants recite prayers while the Muslim call to prayer can be heard outside. The gatekeeper of the synagogue kneels down for Muslim prayer at the entrance of the Temple Beth-El. The synagogue represents the peaceful coexistence of Jewish and Islamic religion in Casablanca.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Religious Identities in Casablanca