Shrine of the Three Rabbis at Krandou, Morocco

Pilgrims come to the town of Krandou, just north of Errachidia, to this cemetery and the periodically open synagogue nearby as a stop on the way to other shrines, as well as to pay homage to the three largely forgotten rabbis buried here: Rabbi Yahia Lahlou, Rabbi Moul Tria, and Rabbi Moul Sedra. Little is known about the three rabbis, although Rabbi Lahlou supposedly came to Morocco during the First Temple Period.1 


Healing Traditions In the past, Moroccan Muslim families sought rabbis' blessings to cure a host of conditions, including infertility, paralysis, and illness. Supplicants (usually women) would visit Jewish shrines in nearby villages, where they would attach a piece of cloth representing their wish to a tree or plant near the shrine and leave some candles or coins.2 In some places, this tradition continues to this day, including at the Shrine of the Three Rabbis. Piles of clothes, chains, or hair can be found by the tombs, and a visitor to the cemetery in 2008 noted that the tree next to Rabbi Moul Sedra's tomb was dressed with a wide variety of women's clothing.3 

Morocco By the late 1200s, the Jews of Morocco gained the ruling Berber dynasty's permission to openly practice Judaism. Morocco became a haven for Jews fleeing persecution in Spain; as many as twenty thousand Jews arrived in Morocco in 1492 after being expelled from Spain.4 By the seventeenth century, Jews lived in more than 250 communities in Morocco; Jewish traders were everywhere in the countryside, providing a connection between the costal cities and the smaller communities of the Sahara.5 During Spain's occupation of Tetouan in the early 1860s, many Jews fled from port cities to the countryside or even to Algeria. When the Crémiuex Decree of 1870 granted French citizenship to Algerian Jews, many Moroccan Jews settled in Algeria. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Morocco had the largest Jewish population of any Arab country, numbering between 110,000 and 120,000 people (about 2.5 percent of the population) in 1912.6 The population reached a peak of around 250,000 in the 1950s. Morocco gained independence in 1956, and a series of governmental decisions (including partially nationalizing the Alliance Israélite Universelle schools and temporarily forbidding postal relatiosn with Israel) made many Jews eager to emigrate. Once emigration policies were relaxed in 1962, more than 130,000 Jews left Morocco over the next thirty years, usually settling in Canada, France, or other Western European countries.7 Today, Morocco's Jewish population is less than five thousand people, most of whom live in Casablanca. 

Krandou, Morocco

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