Yeshiva College undergraduates spent every week this January touring all through Morocco visiting Jewish heritage websites, constructing cultural bridges with Muslim college college students, and increasing their management horizons. Jews – al-Yahud al-Maghariba – have lived in Morocco for 2 thousand years, from about 70 BCE. After the expulsion from Spain in 1492 after which Portugal solely years later, many Spanish Jews discovered refuge and constructed new lives in cities all through Morocco, creating a powerful Jewish tapestry of immigrants. In Fez, Maimonides wrote his main works of him. In Rabat, Marrakesh and even within the Atlas Mountains, Jews lived and labored. Casablanca right now has the most important Jewish neighborhood in Morocco with synagogues, neighborhood facilities, and Jewish faculties. Near 100 YU graduates come from Morocco.
The 31 YU “World Citizenship 2023” members realized concerning the storied Moroccan Jewish neighborhood: they met the final Jewish girl who lives in Rabat, rabbis who train and lead congregations in Casablanca, and a Jewish service provider who renovated the synagogue within the souk of Marrakesh and spends a part of every morning restoring its cemetery. They prayed on the gravesites of essential Moroccan rabbis and toured the Jewish museums of Casablanca, Marrakesh and Essaouira. College students spent hours making repairs to tombstones within the Beit Mo’ed LeKol Chai cemetery and helped arrange its geniza.
The examine theme for the week was “Neighborhood and Duty.” The supply materials they realized and mentioned every day helped them translate Yeshiva College’s core values into their lived expertise by creating their very own neighborhood of which means whereas studying about different communities, nurturing Jewish identification, therapeutic divisions and performing redemptively. College students realized about Arab antisemitism and the methods through which Muslim leaders in Morocco constantly protected Jews and Jewish tradition. They met Muslims like El Mehdi Bodra, the Director of Mimouma, who work with Muslim college students to protect Jewish tradition all through Morocco. College students realized concerning the pillars of Islam and the issues of Islamophobia and had a number of alternatives to talk to Muslim college college students and younger professionals.
A type of alternatives was in Ben Garir on the Mohammed VI Polytechnic College (UM6P). Over 60 medical and pharmaceutical college students warmly greeted the YU delegation. They sat on the grass in circles, realized about one another’s pursuits and considerations, took selfies and exchanged sweatshirts. Later within the week, they traveled to the Atlas Mountains to satisfy with Yossef Ben-Meir, director of the Excessive Atlas Basis who got here to Morocco a long time earlier on a Peace Corps mission and returned to proceed his social justice work in rural areas. He facilitated an encounter with regulation college students to debate prioritize and triage deeply held values.
Every day, pupil leaders have been chargeable for main prayer providers, giving divrei Torah, working actions and, for these with Moroccan roots, sharing their Morocco moments. Eight college students spoke about their household’s Moroccan background. Yeshiva Faculty pupil Avior Hazan mentioned, “The streets, tradition, and heritage of my ancestors not solely strengthened my Moroccan identification but it surely reinvigorated a connection to my roots I by no means thought doable. Being the primary Hazan to go to Morocco since my grandparents, Morocco was greater than an expertise for me — it was a real homecoming.”
Lisa Delouya, a Stern pupil, noticed her household title on a synagogue that certainly one of her ancestors helped construct. The group visited and sang at Rabbi Yitzchak Delouya’s grave to honor Lisa’s previous from her. Lisa, like Avior, is the primary member of her quick household from her to go to Morocco.
The journey was hosted by Yeshiva College’s Workplace of Values and Management along with the Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks-Herenstein Middle for Values and Management. Director of Pupil Management and the Management Students program, Aliza Abrams Konig, helped create the itinerary and served because the journey’s experiential educator. “Journeys like this,” she says, “are a life-shaping expertise for our college students and sometimes go away an influence on the careers they select and the volunteer positions they fill.”
Rabbi Ari Rockoff, YU’s new David Mitzner Neighborhood Dean of Values and Management, organized pupil contributions and challenged college students to consider how they bring about again the inspiration and management abilities to campus. Terri and Andrew Herenstein, the founders of the Sacks-Herenstein Middle, additionally accompanied the group. “The journey to Morocco allowed college students to develop and study as they absorbed the tradition of their households and gave their time and power to assist others,” mentioned Terri Herenstein.
Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman, President of Yeshiva College, joined the scholars for the final days of the journey and mentioned “The nice character and exemplary management that defines our college students have been clearly displayed all all through this enriching and broadening expertise. I left feeling much more impressed and assured within the Jewish future figuring out that they would be the leaders of tomorrow.” Dr. Erica Brown, the Middle’s director and Vice Provost for Values and Management, was requested how college students have been chosen: “With restricted spots out there, we selected a bunch that displays the geographic, educational, and spiritual range of YU’s pupil inhabitants. We gave precedence to college students who’re concerned in management roles on campus and intend to accentuate their involvement within the years forward. I’m proud that our group was half Sephardic and half Ashkenazic and am deeply moved by the variety of Sephardic college students who needed to discover and join with their heritage.”
Rachel Lincer, certainly one of YU’s rising variety of Syrian college students, mentioned, “I’ve created friendships and bonds for all times. I’ve realized extra about my Sephardic tradition and was immersed in my roots. This journey modified me in so some ways. I’ve seen such progress in myself in simply seven days. This journey gave me the arrogance I did not even know I lacked. I really feel stronger as an individual and can’t wait to proceed rising every single day.”