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Daily Israel Report

Mimouna Festival: More Dignified This Year

The central post-Passover Mimouna celebrations took on a different aura this year: Not crowded and noisy, but rather dignified and cultured.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 4/6/2010, 7:21 PM / Last Update: 4/6/2010, 9:48 PM

The central post-Passover Mimouna celebrations took on a different aura this year: Not crowded and noisy, but rather dignified and cultured.

The World Federation of Moroccan Jewry (WFMJ) organized the central Mimouna event in Jerusalem this year in the Binyanei HaUmah Convention Center, with exhibits of films, books, artwork, jewelry and traditional dress.

“Celebrating ten years of existence, WFMJ no longer desires to see happenings in parks and massive celebrations,” the organization announced.

“This time, we have chosen to restore the true character of the Mimouna celebrations,” said Chairman Sam Ben-Sheetrit, “namely, a festival of brotherhood and national tidings. It is a holiday of a glorious Jewry [in Morocco], the cradle of varied Jewish culture of intellect, philosophy, song, and human warmth.”

The day-long event included a musical appearance by famous musician Kobi Peretz, blessings from Tel Aviv Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, visits by Knesset Speaker Ruby Rivlin and other politicians, and amateur art shows. A Moroccan Jewish musical performance was scheduled for 20:00 PM, and the public was invited to take part, free of charge.

Mimouna is a Jewish post-Passover celebratory tradition brought to Israel by immigrants from North Africa. It begins with a festive meal, with families gathering together and opening their doors to neighbors to enjoy singing, traditional foods and spiritual nourishment for the coming months. It was celebrated publicly in Israel for the first time in 1966. In 1968, it was celebrated by some 5,000 people in Sanhedria Park, which had returned to Jewish hands just a year earlier during the Six Day War. The Mimouna's popularity as a public event has grown each year and is now celebrated nationally by hundreds of thousands of people.