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(2,315 words)

Author(s): Emily Gottreich
The city of Marrakesh(Ar. Marrākush) is located in the Hawz plains in south central Morocco at the foot of the snow-capped Atlas Mountain range north of the pre-Saharan oases. The etymology of the word “Marrakesh” is likely Berber, and provides the basis of the name of the country as a whole in many European languages (Morocco, Maroc, Marruecos). The city is also known as “the red” for the mud brick of its buildings and impressive ramparts, the latter extending approximately seven miles in length a…

Jewish Quarters (Ḥāra, Mallāḥ, Maḥalla, Qāʿat al-Yahūd)

(1,670 words)

Author(s): Emily Gottreich
The self-segregation of Jewish communities in concentrated neighborhoods or quarters predated the rise of Islam and continued as an urban norm in most Middle Eastern and North African cities until the twentieth century, when traditional residential patterns, having been disrupted by colonial intervention, were brought to a definitive end with the departure of most Jews from the region. Jewish quarters have been identified in cities throughout the Middle East and North Africa, from the Maghreb to…


(458 words)

Author(s): Emily Gottreich
Specifically Jewish residential quarters, whether established by law or by custom, were found in towns and cities in many parts of the Islamic world. Depending on the locality, the Jewish quarter was designated as ḥārat al-yahūd, qāʿat al-yahūd, qāʿa, or maḥalla. The name used in Morocco since the fifteenth century is mallāḥ. Though often conflated with the European ghetto, the mallāḥ (Mor. Ar. mellāḥ) has a sufficiently distinct origin, morphology, and history to be considered an exclusively Moroccan institution. The term is derived from the salt marsh area in Fez where the first s…

École Professionelle Agricole, Marrakesh

(266 words)

Author(s): Emily Gottreich
Established in 1936 by the Alliance Israélite Universelle in cooperation with the Direction Générale de l’Instruction Publique, the École Professionelle Agricole of Marrakesh was the first of two agricultural schools for Jews founded in Morocco during the protectorate period. While diversifying Jewish occupational patterns was consistent with the AIU’s larger emancipation project, the school also had the more practical goal of providing local Jews with modern agricultural training so that they could find employment on farms owned by European colons, which had been steadily…