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Pariente-Elmaleh, Messody

(616 words)

Author(s): Frances Malino
Messody Pariente was born in 1877 in Tetouan into an aristocratic Jewish family. Her uncle Shemtob (Semtob) Pariente played an important part in extending the influence of the Alliance Israélite Universelle in Turkey. After attending the local Alliance school, Messody left Tetouan for Paris to train as an Alliance teacher. Returning to North Africa in 1895, she became an assistant teacher in the Alliance schools in Tangier and Tetouan (1897–1902) and married Amran Elmaleh (born in Tangier in 1879), a fellow teacher. In 1903 Messody and her husband left for Beirut. T…

Bensimhon, Hassiba Benchimol

(355 words)

Author(s): Frances Malino
Born in Tangier in 1876, Hassiba Benchimol, like her sisters Claire Benchimol and Alégrina Benchimol Lévy, studied at the local Alliance Israélite Universelle school in Tetouan before departing for Paris to train as an Alliance teacher. After working as an assistant in the Alliance school in Tunis from 1895 to 1897 and then in the Tangier school from 1897 to 1899, Hassiba left for Fez, where she opened the Alliance school for girls in 1899. Although her native tongue was Haketia, the Judeo-Spanish of northern Morocco, and she bemoaned her lack of facility i…

Lévy, Messody Coriat

(312 words)

Author(s): Frances Malino
Born in Tetouan, Morocco, in 1881, Messody Coriat came from a prominent although impoverished family. After completing her studies at the local Alliance Israélite Universelle school, she left for Paris and the École Biscoffsheim, a vocational and normal school to which the Alliance sent many of its future teachers. Upon graduation Messody returned to Morocco, where her first assignment was to establish a school for girls in Marrakesh. She remained as director of this school until 1904, and provided the Alliance with reports vividly describing the women of the mellah (Ar.

Lévy, Alégrina Benchimol

(411 words)

Author(s): Frances Malino
Born in Tetouan, Morocco, in 1885, Alégrina Benchimol was the youngest of three sisters. Together they founded and directed Alliance Israélite Universelle schools in ten cities in North Africa and the Ottoman Empire. Her brothers were also Alliance teachers. In 1900, Alégrina left Tetuan for France to study at a private school in Auteil. She returned to North Africa in 1904 as assistant to her oldest sister, Claire Benchimol Lévy, director of the Alliance school for girls in Tripoli, Libya. When her sister died a year later, Alégrina succeeded her as director,…