Jewish and Muslim Coexistence in Morocco

Speaker: Leo Franks

How did Jews and Muslims coexist in Morocco?

This talk gently introduces students to Jews and Muslims in nineteenth-century Morocco. It explores how we can understand their coexistence. It introduces the topic of Jews' and Muslims' Moroccan coexistence to students through a series of interactive exercises. These exercises focus on encouraging students to understand the concept of coexistence. The exercises will teach them how to approach this word, which they will likely have heard but be unfamiliar with its full meaning. 

After introducing students to some of the difficult words – Jews, Muslims, Coexistence and Morocco – the lesson invites students to identify similarities between Jewish and Muslim religious architecture in nineteenth-century Morocco. Focussing on mosques and synagogues, students are encouraged to identify similarities in building design and in the interior decorations of buildings. This helps introduce students to how we can find evidence of coexistence in art. Students are also introduced to examples of coexistence through looking at Judeo-Arabic, listening to Moroccan music performed by Moroccan Jews, through looking at shared instruments between Moroccan Jews and Muslims, and through listening to the lived experience of a Moroccan Muslim speaking about living with Moroccan Jews in the early twentieth century.

The talk looks to sensitively and dynamically guide students through the topic of coexistence, with the hope that knowledge of the concept and knowledge of how we can identify its existence will better their own lives.

About the Speaker

Leo Franks is a Ph.D. student in UC Berkeley's History Department. Leo holds Masters degrees in history from the University of Cambridge and University of Aberdeen. He researches law and Jews in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He is fortunate to be in receipt of several scholarships and awards that support his work. He has most recently appeared in print in the Journal of Modern Jewish Studies.

Suggested Audiences

Age: 6th - 12th grade and community college

Preparation: There is no preparation necessary.

Courses: World History, Art History, World Religions, Global Studies, any course that explores issues of coexistence across cultural difference

Invite Leo Franks to Speak