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(1,653 words)

Author(s): Jessica Marglin
The twin port cities of Rabat (Ar. Ribāṭ, Ribāṭ al-Fatḥ; Mor. Ar. r-Rbāṭ) and Salé (Ar. Salā; Mor. Ar. Slā), on Morocco’s Atlantic coast, lie on the southern and northern banks, respectively, of the Bou Regreg River (Ar. Wādī Abū Raqraq). The area around the Bou Regreg was populated in ancient times, and Muslim historians report that Jews and Christians were living in the region before the advent of Islam. In the twelfth century the Almohad sultan ʿAbd al-Muʾmin and his successors planned to make Rabat their capital city and began construction of extensive walls and an…


(1,673 words)

Author(s): Jessica Marglin
Tetouan (Tétouan, Tétuan; Ar. Tiṭwān, Berb. Tīṭṭāwīn) is a port town on the Mediterranean coast of northern Morocco at the mouth of the Martil River on the slopes of the Jabal al-Darsa, part of the Rif mountain chain.1. HistoryAlthough it is believed to be built near the site of the ancient Roman city of Tamuda, very little is known about the city of Tetouan or its Jewish community until after the expulsion from Spain in 1492. The city was destroyed either by the Spaniards in 1400 or by the Portuguese in 1437, and was abandoned until 1493, when it was rebuilt by Muslim refugees from Granada, led by …

Ksar el-Kebir

(367 words)

Author(s): Jessica Marglin
Ksar el-Kebir (Alcazarquivir, Alcazar, Elksar, al-Qaṣr al-Kabīr) is a small city in northern Morocco, 85 kilometers (50 miles) south of Tangier, on the right bank of the Oued Loukkos and approximately 31 kilometers (19 miles) upriver from Larache on the Atlantic coast. The city dates at least to the eighth century. Very little is known about its Jewish community before 1492, when exiles from the Iberian Peninsula began to arrive in large numbers and populated the cities of northern Morocco. The Jews of Ksar el-Kebir retained Judeo-Spanish (Haketia) as their native language, a…

Ben ʿAṭṭār, Ḥayyim

(632 words)

Author(s): Jessica Marglin
Ḥayyim ben Moses ben ʿAṭṭār (Ibn ʿAṭṭār) was born in 1696 in Salé, Morocco, and died in 1743 in Jerusalem. His paternal grandfather, the elder Ḥayyim ben ʿAṭṭār, a scholar in his own right, was responsible for much of the younger Ḥayyim’s education. At age thirteen Ḥayyim accompanied his father and grandfather to Meknes, where his grandfather took over the family’s trading business. There Ḥayyim married his cousin Fa’ṣoniya (the granddaughter of Shem Ṭov ben ʿAṭṭār, the elder Ḥayyim's brother). Her father, Moses ben ʿAṭ…