It is not that common to experience Jewish traditions in Thailand, so this is a very good chance to observe a celebration taking place at the residence of the Israeli ambassador to Thailand. We are attending the Jewish celebration dinner, called “Mimouna”.
Mimouna is a unique tradition, celebrated by the Jewish community in Morocco. It is held the day after Passover, which is a major Jewish holiday that celebrates the exodus of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt.
During the Passover, the Jewish people avoid anything that contains grain that has risen or fermented, for example breads, pastas, beers, liquors and so on.
Mimouna marks the return to eating food that is forbidden throughout the week of Passover.
Traditionally, Jews in Morocco held an “open house” for all their friends and neighbours to come and go between the various celebrations.
The Mimouna party offered participants the joy of Jewish-Moroccan food, sweets, music and colours, including ‘Mofletta’, a thin crepe made from water, flour and oil, usually eaten warm with honey, and other highlight desserts such as Fast Homemade Marzipan and Coconut Meringue Cookies.
H.E. Mr. Abderrahim Rahhaly, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco to Thailand said that “Jewish people are part of the Moroccan people in general. In Morocco, they enjoy all their rights, we even have, unlike many other countries, we even have a Rabbinical court, where Jewish people can settle their differences, their religion, whatever, according to the Aramaic law, not according to the Muslim law, since they are Jewish.“
“It is basically an exclusive Jewish Moroccan tradition. Only the Moroccan Jews celebrate the Mimouna. This is celebrated in Morocco. This is celebrated wherever they go, but this is the first time in Thailand. Since there’s a Jewish Moroccan community here, that’s why we decided to celebrate, in cooperation with our friends in the Israeli embassy, because many of our nationals do share nationalities as well, they are Moroccan but they are Israeli as well.“, He added.
Following the normalisation of relationships between the State of Israel and the Kingdom of Morocco in 2020, this is the first time that the Embassy of Israel in Bangkok and the Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco have arranged the special event.
H.E. Mrs. Orna Sagiv, Ambassador of the State of Israel to Thailand said that “Israel and Morocco, we just established diplomatic relations about two and a half years ago. We’ve always been friends but, for some years, we didn’t have diplomatic relations, so everything was behind the scenes. Now we are happy that we can celebrate together, we can invite our friends together and we can celebrate the friendship between Israel and Morocco.”
Despite Mimouna being a Jewish-Moroccan tradition, the celebration is also famous in Israel, as many Jews left North Africa in the 1950s and most settled in Israel. Some immigrant families maintained the tradition of holding a festive family meal on Mimouna evening.
H.E. Mrs. Orna Sagiv added that “The tradition is to leave the door open and for people to come and go, come and go. They can go to one family then they can go to another family. It’s a very nice evening and, in Israel, we are waiting for that and they don’t need to be invited, that’s the beauty. I don’t need to invite you. If you hear that I’m making Mimouna, the door is open and you can come. I think this is really nice. This is what Israelis enjoy and we celebrate it.”
by Kitipat Chuensukjit