Interior of the synagogue
Interior of the synagogue

The Slat al-Azama Synagogue or Lazama Synagogue (Arabic: كنيس صلاة العزامة, Hebrew: בית הכנסת צלאת אל עזמה) is one of the best-known synagogues in Marrakesh, Morocco. It is located in the historic Mellah (Jewish quarter) of the old city.

History

The synagogue was associated with Sephardic Jews who were expelled from Spain in 1492. The synagogue's foundation is likewise traditionally attributed to 1492,[1][2] though one scholar has indicated that the exact year of establishment has not been verified.[3] The Mellah district in which the synagogue is located was not created until 1557.[4]: 363–364 [5]: 258  In any case, the synagogue's current form dates from a more modern restoration.[1][2][6] The building is still functioning as a synagogue today.[7][1]

Architecture

The synagogue is integrated into a larger building which consisted of a private house with a central courtyard (popularly referred to as a riad).[1][2][7] This integration of a synagogue into a private home was typical of most synagogues in the Mellah of Marrakesh[6] as well as in the Mellah of Fez.[8] The synagogue itself has traditional Moroccan decoration such as zellij (mosaic tilework).[1]

The east side was renovated after the 1950s, with the addition of a wing for women (ezrat nashim), which is unique in Morocco where tradition dictates that women stay in a separate room at the entrance of the synagogue.[9] The original wooden Torah ark has been replaced by a marble ark, which is located next to the eastern wall. Notes drawn in the 1950s by architect Yaacov Finkerfeld demonstrate that the space mentioned above did not exist for women and that the interior was divided into two naves by four columns. On the upper floor there is a yeshiva.[9]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e "Lazama Synagogue | Marrakesh, Morocco Attractions". Lonely Planet. Retrieved 2020-09-26.
  2. ^ a b c "Morocco is a trove of Jewish history if you know where to go". AP NEWS. 2019-04-18. Retrieved 2020-09-26.
  3. ^ Stiefel, Barry L. (2015). Jews and the Renaissance of Synagogue Architecture, 1450–1730. Routledge. p. 54.
  4. ^ Deverdun, Gaston (1959). Marrakech: Des origines à 1912. Rabat: Éditions Techniques Nord-Africaines.
  5. ^ Wilbaux, Quentin (2001). La médina de Marrakech: Formation des espaces urbains d'une ancienne capitale du Maroc. Paris: L'Harmattan. ISBN 2747523888.
  6. ^ a b The Rough Guide to Morocco (12th ed.). Rough Guides. 2019. p. 318.
  7. ^ a b Frank, Michael (2015-05-30). "In Morocco, Exploring Remnants of Jewish History". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-09-26.
  8. ^ Gilson Miller, Susan; Petruccioli, Attilio; Bertagnin, Mauro (2001). "Inscribing Minority Space in the Islamic City: The Jewish Quarter of Fez (1438-1912)". Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians. 60 (3): 310–327. doi:10.2307/991758. JSTOR 991758.
  9. ^ a b "Las sinagogas marroques". 2009-10-25. Archived from the original on 2009-10-25. Retrieved 2020-11-30.

Coordinates: 31°37′12.4″N 7°58′56.4″W / 31.620111°N 7.982333°W / 31.620111; -7.982333