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Laredo, Abraham Isaac

(248 words)

Author(s): Mitchell Serels
Abraham Isaac Laredo (1895–1969) was a leader of the Jewish community of Tangier, serving as secretary and vice-president of the Junta (Jewish Community Council) in 1949 and as its president in 1956. Laredo was active in many communal organizations, including the Société d’Histoire et d’Archéologie de Tanger, the Ligue Anti-Tuberculeuse Entraide National, and the Association pour la Défense des Intérêts de Tanger, and served as president of the Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants (OSE ) in Tangier until it closed in 1964…

Bengio, Mordechai

(407 words)

Author(s): Mitchell Serels
Mordechai Bengio, the son of Joseph Bengio, was born in 1825 and was elected chief rabbi of Tangier at the age of twenty-eight in 1853, succeeding his grandfather, Moses, who died of the plague. Serving as chief rabbi until his own death in 1917, he reformed the community governing council, the Junta (Heb. maʿamad ) and introduced a measure of democracy on nonreligious issues. He also supported the opening of communal schools. He was considered a great rabbinic authority.Bengio organized the first communal election of Junta members, held on May 9, 1853, but the elected Junta…

Laredo Family

(455 words)

Author(s): Mitchell Serels
The Laredo family traces its origins to the Spanish town of Laredo, Santander Province of Viejo Castile, although it had roots in Briviesca, Burgos, and Villanueva. The family included rabbinic figures and lay leaders in Tangier, Ksar el-Kébir, and Gibraltar. Family members also served as leaders of the ḥevrat gemilat ḥasidim (Heb. society for acts of loving-kindness), administering the burial and cemetery rituals. They also participated in the benevolent societies that cared for the sick and provided dowries for poor brides.One of the best-known members of the family was Abraham La…

Attias, Menahem

(190 words)

Author(s): Mitchell Serels
Born in Tangier in 1864, Menahem Attias studied at the Alliance Israélite Universelle school and with Pierre Senac, a teacher of French in the Catholic Mission. From 1898 to 1900 he served as chancellor of the consulate of Brazil in Tangier. For many years he was the secretary of the Casino de Tangier. During World War I, on instructions from Isaac Abensur, the president of the Junta, the ruling council of the Tangier Jewish community, he organized a lottery to raise funds with which to meet the community’s budgetary deficits. In 1918, he became a member of the Junta, serving on its school c…

Assayag, Pinhas

(272 words)

Author(s): Mitchell Serels
A journalist and man of letters in Tangier, Pinhas Assayag used the nom de plume Veritas. An enthusiastic Hispanophile, he wrote for or collaborated in the periodicals La Patria, El Imparcial, El Liberal of Madrid, and other Spanish journals. Manuel Ortegacalled him “one of the most cultured Tangerian Hebrews of the modern era” ( Los hebreos, p. 221). Assayag was a friend of Angel Pulido Fernández, who actively campaigned for Spanish recognition of Sephardi Jews in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Assayag was vice president of the first governing Junta (executive co…

Nesry, Carlos de

(360 words)

Author(s): Mitchell Serels
Carlos de Nesry, the son of Rabbi Yaḥya Nezry (Berb. Nizrī), was a lawyer in the Court of Appeals of Tangier. In 1940, he served as a member of the Jewish Community Council of Tangier. An eloquent speaker, writer, and journalist, he changed the spelling of his surname and added the “de” to Hispanicize his image. Nesry was often seen wearing a cape and moved among the café set. He circulated a petition in Tangier asking the Nobel Committee to award him the prize in literature.  Nesry interpreted the life of the Jews of Tangie…

Laredo, Isaac

(258 words)

Author(s): Mitchell Serels
Isaac Laredo (1866–1946) was a multilingual writer, journalist, and sociologist in Tangier. As a young journalist, he fought against official misuse of office and for the modernization of the community. He wrote under various pseudonyms, including Omega, el-Bachir, and HaMeliz, and was a founder of La Cronica, a local newspaper . He also wrote for the press in Spain, Gibraltar, and Tangier. Laredo helped to create the Hygiene Commission and from 1888 to 1889 was its first secretary-treasurer. In 1898 he was made honorary vice-president of the Jewish Community Council ( Junta), and in …

Ribbi, Abraham

(422 words)

Author(s): Mitchell Serels
Abraham Ribbi(1861–1928), an educator and institution builder of the Alliance Israélite Universelle, was instrumental in expanding the organization in Morocco. Born in Izmir (Smyrna), Ottoman Turkey, in 1861, and a graduate of the École Normale Israélite Orientale—the teacher-training school of the Alliance Israélite Universelle in Paris—Ribbi arrived in Morocco in 1881 to become  director of the AIU school in Tetouan (the first Alliance school, established in 1862).In 1889, Ribbi reopened the AIU schools in Tangier, which had been closed for three years because…


(308 words)

Author(s): Mitchell Serels
Mostaganem (Ar. Mustaghānim) is the capital of the Algerian province of the same name. The town was founded in the Roman period and was settled by Catalan Jewish traders in the fourteenth century. The Jewish population increased with the arrival of Spanish Jews fleeing the waves of anti-Jewish violence that swept Iberia and the Balearics in 1391 and again after the expulsion in 1492. The exiles were headed by Rabbi Makhlūf ben Ḥanīn and Saʿadya Medioni ha-Dayyan. Spain conquered the city in 1510, but was unable to maintain control for long. In 1792, with …

Pimienta, Abraham

(402 words)

Author(s): Mitchell Serels
Born in Tangier into a family of rabbis and community leaders, Abraham Pimienta (1860–1924) was the son of Rabbi Moses Pimienta(a candidate for the chief rabbinate in 1855) and Simy Bengio (whose father, Mordecai, became chief rabbi). He attended the Alliance Israélite Universelle school and was one of the first students to be taught accounting by Albert Israel. He also attended the AIU teacher-training school in Paris, the École Normale Israélite Orientale, and was an Alliance teacher in Tunis before returning to Tangier, where he was employed by the Landon firm of B…

Pinto, Abraham

(192 words)

Author(s): Mitchell Serels
Abraham Pinto, a son of Jacob Pinto, was born in Tangier in 1863. He and his brother Moses went to Latin America at the end of the nineteenth century, but he later returned to Tangier, where he was a founder and vice-president of the Asociación Hispano-Hebrea. In 1914, he was a member of the delegation that met with King Alfonso XIII in Madrid. The king promised to ameliorate the condition of Spanish Jews in Tangier and throughout Morocco. Pinto was decorated with the Order of Isabela la Católica. When he advocated for the Edict of Expulsion of 1492 to …

Lévy-Cohen, Abraham

(409 words)

Author(s): Mitchell Serels
Abraham Lévy-Cohen (1844–1888) was born in Tangier, raised in Essaouira (Mogador), and educated in England, where he was naturalized. He also lived in France for eight years. Returning to Morocco as a lawyer, businessman, and journalist, he served as a member of the regional committee of the Alliance Israélite Universelle and representative of the Anglo-Jewish Association in Tangier. Though a British subject, he was a member of the Jewish Francophile elite, devoted to the advancement of French culture and interests in Morocco.On July 14, 1883, Lévy-Cohen began publishing Mor…


(3,367 words)

Author(s): M. Mitchell Serels
City in the far north of Morocco, home to a significant Jewish community for many centuries. Tangier’s status as a center of European diplomacy in Morocco from the late 18th century onward along with the International Zone established here between 1923 and 1956 meant that the history and social structure of the Jewish community of the city differed considerably from those of other communities in the Maghreb. Looking to Western languages and European education, Tangier’s Jews became pionee…
Date: 2023-10-31


(3,080 words)

Author(s): Mitchell Serels, M.
Stadt im äußersten Norden Marokkos, die über Jahrhunderte eine bedeutende jüdische Gemeinde beheimatete. Als Zentrum europäischer Diplomatie in Marokko seit Ende des 18. Jahrhunderts sowie infolge der Einrichtung einer Internationalen Zone von 1923 bis 1956 unterschieden sich Geschichte und soziale Struktur der jüdischen Gemeinschaft Tangers deutlich von der anderer Gemeinden im Maghreb. An westlichen Sprachen und europäischer Bildung orientiert, wurden Tangers Juden zu Wegbereitern der Moderne …