In the Jewish quarter of Marrakech, the Mellah, an estimated 35,000 Jews once attended the quarter’s 35 different synagogues. The streets teemed with life and Jewish culture; in shops, workshops and houses. One particularly magnificent house belonged to the influential Corcos family. Today it stands empty and, despite the efforts of a Muslim caretaker, is rapidly falling into disrepair. It is Muslim children who today attend a former Jewish school in Marrakesh, and when they are asked to draw a Jew they don’t have many ideas. Only elderly Muslim residents of the city remember their erstwhile neighbours; they grew up together or learned trades from them, especially those related to metalwork. Occasionally, the faithful of the only synagogue still in operation find it difficult to summon the minyan, the quorum of ten men required for a complete Jewish service. The city's large Jewish cemetery is frequented by the last remaining Jews and descendants of Marrakech's Sephardic community who today live abroad. In five short documentary films, this project sheds light on how the city deals with the vacuum left behind by its former Jewish population. Together, Israeli and Moroccan students, each with a different focus, embark on a search for traces of what was once a flourishing Jewish culture, one reminders of which will soon be provided by places and artifacts rather than people themselves. The project was initiated by Taha Balafrej (Connect Institute, Morocco), Professor Sami Shalom Chetrit (Sapir College, Israel) and Ziv Naveh (Gesher Multicultural Film Fund, Israel).
People Asleep and the Water as Well
Regie: Rotem Elkayam, Eliran Damri, Maryem Bouzzit, Ghita Sarhani
If Walls Could Speak
Regie: Ella Dagan, Kinar Dar, Ayoub El Mouden, Riham Harrag, Yasser Hafid
Guardians of Heritage
Regie: Moshe Michael, Zakaria Habbad, Iman Maskal, Mouad ait Lahcen
Draw Me a Jew
Regie: Amit Arell, Hen Hajaj, Rachida Iaich, Hind Chtibia, Baya Bazaar
Regie: Shani Cohen, Shani Beradt, Youssef Atir, Yanis Ait Hebouch
Text: Kira Tazman
English: Peter Rickerby
Kinar Dar, director of "If Walls Could Speak", will be present at all screenings, except on 16.6., for a film talk after the film.