Moroccan Jews

When did Moroccan Jews first come to Canada?

The Moroccan Jews began to immigrate to Toronto in the late 1950’s for better economic prospects. By 2019, reports estimate that 1,100 have settled in Toronto. It is estimated that the population of Moroccan Jews in Canada is approx. 40,000.

Where do Moroccan Jews predominantly gather in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA)?

A number of Moroccan Jews live in the North York and Thornhill districts of Toronto. Some Moroccan Jews live in Montreal, Quebec.
Population estimate in the GTA:  5,000

What are Moroccan Jews' lives like?

  • Moroccans are hard-working, creating wealth, making neighbourhoods more stable/safe via their presence.
  • There is a strong focus of peace and their religious traditions.
  • Majority of Moroccan Jews have achieved their life goals like becoming a doctor, investor etc. They are “go-getters.”
  • They eat a famous dish called Dafina, which is an iconic slow-cooked Moroccan stew served especially on Shabbat.
  • Moroccan Jews are known for making pilgrimages to the tombs of holy sages. There are thirteen (13) such famous ancient pilgrimage sites which are maintained by local Muslims.
  • A unique Moroccan festival, the Mimouna, is celebrated by many Moroccan Jews on the night following Passover.

PRAY
for the Moroccan Jews in the GTA

  • That God would raise up labourers & evangelists among Moroccan Jews in North York, Thornhill, Toronto Districts and Montreal.
  • That believers would be emboldened to share Christ with their Moroccan Jewish neighbours, co-workers, and classmates.
  • That God would lead near-cultural Jewish-background followers of Jesus to reach out to GTA's Moroccan Jews with the good news.
  •  That Moroccan churches be started in the Greater Toronto Area.
  • Lord, lead gospel-centered churches in North York and Thornhill to pray for, and minister among, GTA's Moroccan Jewish community.

Prayer Resources

Prayercast is a website dedicated to activating prayer around the world.
For prayer resources on Moroccan peoples, click the Prayercast logo.

What do Moroccan Jews believe?

  • A strong desire to preserve their identity here in Canada.
  • A strong emphasis on non-violence and peace.
  • Deep respect for parents.
  • Show an openness and willingness to share with outsiders about their culture and their struggle.
  • Moroccan Jews have many places of prayer in the GTA such as Petah Tikvah, Magen David Sephardic Congregation, Tiferet Israel and the Sephardic Kehila Centre, in which many families have prayer places to choose from now.

Quick Facts

Place of Origin:  Morocco is located in the Northern side of Africa and is bordered by the North Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. Algeria and Western Sahara are the land borders to the south and east.
Religion:  Islam (98.7%), Christian (1.1%), Jewish (0.3%)
Population:  36.47 million
(Primary) Language: Arabic
(Secondary) Language: French, Spanish, English
Other Information: 
  • Maurice Benzacar was one of the first Moroccans to make a move to Toronto, and he became a key planter in developing a place of prayer for the Moroccan community.
  • After Israel became a nation in 1948, Mossad (the Israeli intelligence agency) persuaded the Moroccan Jews to leave their homes and return to Israel. Currently, only 2,500-3,000 Moroccan Jews live in Morocco compared to 200,000 before 1948.
  • The largest population of Moroccan Jews are now in Israel, with an estimate of 486,000. About 40,000 Moroccan Jews live in Canada.
  • Moroccan Jews contributed to the religious, cultural, political and economic development of Morocco.

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