Monday, May 14, 2012

Thousands join Hiloula to Moroccan rabbi's shrine

Prayers during the Hiloula to Rabbi Amran Ben Diwan's tomb (Photo: AFP)

Strict security was in force last week when thousands of Jews visited the tomb of Amran Ben Diwan in northern Morocco - a famous Moroccan rabbi. AFP reports:

OUAZZANE, Morocco — Thousands of Jews from Morocco, Israel and other parts of the world have over the past week carried out an annual pilgrimage to the Islamic nation to honour celebrated rabbis.

Morocco may not be the likeliest of Jewish pilgrim destinations, but the north African nation has for centuries had a vibrant Jewish population and some 1,200 of the faith's pious ancestors are buried in cemeteries here.

In recent days, about 5,000 pilgrims have gathered to pray for peace at sanctuaries and gravesites.

Perhaps the most famous of these burial grounds is that of Amran Ben Diwan, a venerated rabbi who was interred 250 years ago in the mountains of Ouazzane, about 200 kilometers (125 miles) north of the capital Rabat.

Ben Diwan's tomb, nestled in a Jewish cemetery among acres of olive trees, was placed under police guard and only people who had been authorised by Morocco's Jewish community were allowed access.

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