Rabbi Yoshiahu Pinto
Rabbi Yoshiahu Pinto Flash90

Rabbi Yoshiahu Pinto, Head of the "Shuva Israel" institutions, was appointed Supreme Chief Rabbinical Court Master in Morocco after one hundred years in which the post remained vacant. The appointment ceremony took place in the "Beth El Synagogue" – the main synagogue in Casablanca. Attending were hundreds of participants including the heads of the Jewish communities in Morocco and 50 senior government officials and regional governors, as well as senior Moroccan military and police officials. Among the royal representatives that appointed Rabbi Pinto were the special Moroccan Royal Emissary to the event, Mr. Serge Bardugo – former Minister of Tourism and President of the Jewish Community in Morocco, and the Kingdom’s representative – the Casablanca Wali (regional governor).

Morocco today is home to some 10,000 Jews, living mostly in Casablanca and in smaller numbers in the capital Rabat, in Agadir, Marrakesh, Meknes and Fez. So far Morocco is the only Muslim country to appoint a rabbi to the post of Supreme Chief Rabbinical Court Master on behalf of the King. In this role rabbi Pinto will be at the head of the Moroccan Jewry’s Kashrut operation and will be providing solutions for the religious and customary issues of the local Jews, as well as for the approximately 100,000 Jews that visit Morocco every year. Furthermore, Rabbi Pinto will be given a judge’s seat in the Supreme Court and Senior Diplomat status.

Special Moroccan Royal Emissary to the event, Mr. Serge Bardugo – former Minister of Tourism and President of the Jewish Community in Morocco, opened the event and said “I would like to thank the Gaon Rabbi Yoshiahu Pinto, who has accomplished this venerable project”. He added that “less than one month ago King Mohammed the Sixth said ‘In this world, where we seek milestones, the Moroccan Kingdom has never ceased to pursue the love and adoration which exists between the sons of Abraham, an affinity which unites them all’. The visits to the synagogues, mosques and churches teach us that everyone here lives a life of genuine partnership. The Kingdom of Morocco vouches for the sons of all religions, wherever they may be, to enable them to uphold their traditions’”.

Rabbi Yoshiahu Pinto gave a speech in front of the hundreds of participants. He told of the hard years he has been through and of the new path he is about to embark on: “10 years ago, on Passover Eve, we were beset by the most rigorous existential trial – days were not days and nights were not nights – we would cry to our Lord All Mighty – ‘Lord, My Lord, Why have thou abandoned me’. Ten years later we stand here today and thank the Almighty for ‘Having Given us life, sustained us, and brought us to this time’. Rabbi Pinto added that “4 years ago the contact was established with Serge Bardugo, who sacrifices his life for the Jewish community in Morocco concerning the establishment of a religious school in the country – and today we embark on a new road”.

In his speech, the Rabbi mentioned the state of his health and prayed for success in his new role. “We are infirm and do not feel well and we pray in pain to the Lord to give us a long life in order to succeed in our mission and to enable us to please our Father in Heaven”.

The Rabbi thanked his brother Menachem Pinto, who has worked tirelessly over the last months and attended to all the proceedings for his appointment, helped in preparing the ceremony and cared for the community. He also thanked Joe Ben Amo, a member of the Community Executive, and to the senior government officials for their support of the Jewish community in Morocco. Rabbi Pinto also praised King Mohammed the Sixth’s efforts and work, and his "mercy" and "benevolence" toward the people in Morocco. In the midst of the ceremony, a special prayer was held for the King’s success and well-being.

Following his new appointment, Rabbi Pinto will be dividing his time between Morocco and his duties in the "Shuva Israel" institutions in Israel, New York, France, England and other places around the world.