Mimouna celebrated worldwide

In some places, the Morocco-originated custom is introduced for the first time.

Mordechai Sones,

Minouna in New Zealand
Minouna in New Zealand
Bnei Akiva World Movement

Hundreds participated this year, in several communities around the world for the first time, in Mimouna celebrations held in surprising locations, and not only by Moroccans.

The first such Mimouna in the broader world was celebrated in style in New Zealand, at the initiative of Bnei Akiva emissaries in Auckland Noam and Elisheva Fogel, both true-blue Ashkenazim. They decided to connect the members of the community to this special tradition and recruited a family from Israel of Moroccan origin who had just toured the area on Passover. "The excitement was wild! It was an intense marathon as soon as the holiday was over; everyone enlisted and stood by us in the kitchen all evening. We prepared mufletas and sphinjim and explained to people about the background and tradition and how the Mimouna festival began in Moroccan exile," Vogel says. "Surprisingly, more than 80 people of all types arrived: Converts, young couples, Israelis, Chabadniks, tourists, pensioners, children, the community rabbi; we had an amazing atmosphere, lots of music and very joyous."

Mimouna in Helsinki, Finland
Bnei Akiva World Movement

Another Mimouna, the furthest north, in the most Ashkenazi and unexpected place, took place in Helsinki, Finland. It began as an initiative of a community member, originally Moroccan, who volunteered to prepare all the delicacies. Next to her was the new cook of the community preparing the meals at the local Jewish school and kindergartens, an Israeli of Iraqi origin. The result was kebabs, canapes, mufletas, and dozens more cookies and marzipans. The rabbi of the community raised donations and Bnei Akiva's emissaries, Leah and Tomer Huber, were responsible for all the logistical aspects of publicizing, organizing, and producing the event, including operating the music and alcohol bar. "What was strongest for me was that the event was initiated by someone from the community. It's very rare here. And this is the first time that this happens, that there's an event that's not just for the Finns. It also brought a connection between the Finns and the Israelis, who are usually two groups that have quite a bit of hostility between them," says Huber. "By way of this celebration, which is also of Israelis, it created connections and hearts opened, and the Finns were exposed for the first time to these customs and traditions, and there was so much enthusiasm that the rabbi decided to turn this into a tradition for years to come."

Mimouna in Helsinki, Finland
Bnei Akiva World Movement
Mimouna in Capetown, South Africa
Bnei Akiva World Movement

Additional Mimounas were held by emissaries in Cape Town, South Africa and Perth, Australia, in the presence of hundreds of participants. Esther Lavi, a Bnei Akiva emissary in Perth, where the Mimouna has already become a tradition, says "in the first year we arrived here three years ago and I initiated the Mimouna, people here had never heard of it. Since then, the whole community's been asking for it themselves. More than 120 people arrived, some of whom have nothing to do with religion and Judaism. We told them about the custom of hospitality and about the connection between the Jews in the community after the holiday, when they don't eat with others because of all the stringent kashrut of Passover. It was very special." Bnei Akiva emissary in Cape Town Aviah Wolf, turned the event into an Israeli celebration with Hebrew songs and folk dances. World Bnei Akiva movement secretary-general Roi Abiksis said that "Mimouna has become a holiday of the Israeli experience that expresses the idea of 'together, Tribes of Israel.' This is a message taught by Bnei Akiva every year and is therefore warmly adopted by the Jewish communities around the world."

Mimouna in Perth, Australia
Bnei Akiva World Movement
Mimouna in Perth, Australia
Bnei Akiva World Movement



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