The muffleta or pancake typically eaten at the Maimouna (Ofer Amran)
Tonight two million Israelis will celebrate the Maimouna, a Moroccan Jewish festive meal to celebrate the end of Pesah. This year, according to The Jerusalem Post, the occasion carries a pointed message protesting extremist orthodoxy.
According to historian Yigal Bin-Nun, the Moroccan Jewish Mimouna originated from “a feast day designed to appease a local she-devil.”
But over the years, Bin-Nun wrote in 2007, it adopted Jewish traits – epitomized by the importance of blessings recited over the delicacies consumed – as well as turning into “a symbol of Jewish- Muslim solidarity.
“Because the Jews could not keep hametz (leaven) in their homes during the Pessah holiday, it was customary to give all their flour, yeast and grain to their Muslim neighbors,” who would at the end of the holiday present their Jewish neighbors with flour and leavened goods.
This year, the World Federation of Moroccan Jewry decided that the theme of the celebrations would be the biblical command to “love the convert” in the wake of the recent maelstrom shaking Israeli society and world Jewry over the proposed conversion bill and the shadows of doubt cast over IDF conversions, which were eventually resolved.
Federation head Sam Ben- Chetrit noted that “we will be stressing the divine commandment– which appears in the Bible 45 times in different variations – to love, draw near, help and embrace the convert who wishes to join our people.
“This stands in contrast to the fact that only once are we commanded to love God. This shows the importance of the command [to love converts] for God’s sake.”
Ben-Chetrit also noted the planned “protest against extreme Orthodoxy, while quoting the rulings of North African sages, who taught and ruled in line with tolerance and lenience.”
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Political indigestion from Maimouna pancakes