Location: United States

Monday, April 03, 2006

Role des juifs dans les communautes berberes

Extrait de 'THE MELLAHS OF SOUTHERN MOROCCO' - H. Goldberg - 1983

'... In the remote tribal areas it was often the case that the Jews were the only specialists. They were metal-workers, tinsmiths, jewelers, tailors, cobblers, saddlemakers and carpenters. These skills were essential to the tribal populations, who attempted to attract Jews into their area. Well-to-do tribesmen, and, perhaps, in some cases, the Berber councils, would build houses which could be used for a member of the family, but which also might be given to Jews who agreed to make their home there. This put the Jews in close proximity to a steady source of income and made available, to the Muslim peasants, important services and a link to the larger markets. Living in these areas, in pre-Protectorate times, meant that the Jews were under the protection of individual Muslims, or the 'strong man' of a region. In determining a place of residence, then, the individual Jewish family had to make a trade-off between the attraction of a steady clientele, the estimation of the degree of physical security, and the value of being in contact with an active and prestigious Jewish community. The distribution of Jews in distinct small hamlets within the same region probably reflects a compromise among these factors.'


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