Moroccan Jewish

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 Jewish to leave their homes and return to Israel. Currently, only 2,500-3,000 Moroccan Jewish live in Morocco compared to 200,000 before 1948.
  • The largest population of Moroccan Jewish are now in Israel, with an estimate of 486,000. About 40,000 Moroccan Jewish live in Canada.
  • Moroccan Jewish contributed to the religious, cultural, political and economic development of Morocco.

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 5,000 have settled in Toronto & Ontario. It is estimated that the population of Moroccan Jews in Canada is approx. 40,000.

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

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

What are Moroccan Jewish 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 Jewish 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 Jewish 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 Jewish on the night following Passover.

What do Moroccan Jewish 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 Jewish 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.

PRAY
for the Moroccan Jewish in the GTA

  • That God would raise up labourers & evangelists among Moroccan Jewish 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 Jewish with the good news.
  •  That Moroccan Jewish-background 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.

Resources

Urban Research Assisting Churches is a website that seeks to provide an accessible online portal for receiving and sharing tools, information, expertise, and resources related to engaging and embracing the diverse peoples of Canada. Click the Ureach Toronto Logo for more resources on Moroccan Jews.
Prayercast is a website dedicated to activating prayer around the world.
For prayer resources on Moroccan peoples, click the Prayercast logo.

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