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North African Jewry – The Case of Quebec (Location: Sephardi Synagogue Woollahra)

October 22, 2017 7:30 pm
October 22, 2017 9:00 pm
Sephardi Synagogue
9389 3982
Google Map
40-44 Fletcher St, Woollahra, Australia, 2025

2009 marked a milestone in the history of the community of the North-African Jews in North America. A community that did not exist as such in 1958 – the Francophone Sephardim of Montreal – are now counted in the thousands, one out of ten Jews in Montreal was born in North Africa. After fifty years, Sephardic settlement in North-America needs to be understood as both a component of a French Canadian society in dynamic transition as well as another instance of a Jewish diaspora in the making. After half a century’s community life in Québec, essentially in Montréal, Sephardic identity merits full recognition as a North America reality. There are different elements framing the attitude of Moroccan Sephardim in Québec vis-à-vis their land of birth. On the one hand there is bitterness and resentment that they were “forced” to leave their homeland. But fifty years after the going in exile, a more rose-tinted nostalgia overshadowed the negative memories of Morocco. Memory of a laid back Mediterranean lifestyle balances the annual shock of the Québécois winter. There is little regret about the decision to emigrate, but a fondness for what was left behind, particularly in terms of personal relations and youthful dreams, drapes le Maroc with an aura of wistfulness. This lecture will look at the specific way this memory and “Moroccan Jewish identity” were inscribed in literary texts from North-African Jews exiled to Québec.

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