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IFRANE D'ANTI-ATLAS (Oufrane): PDF Print E-mail

A town in south Morocco, near Agadir, also known as Oufrane. (It should not be confused with the modern town and ski resort of Ifrane, south of Meknes in the Middle Atlas mountain range.)

Ifrane Anti-Atlas, or Oufrane as it was known by the Jews, is reputed to be the capital of an ancient Jewish kingdom. The kingdom was founded prior to the destruction of the second temple in Israel, around 500 b.c. While the kingdom was destroyed, the Jewish population remained and grew with the arrival of Jews accompanying the Romans and the Arabs in later centuries. Some Sephardic Jews also moved into the area following the Spanish inquisition. Source

CEMETERY: Story of Oufrane: 60 Jews from Oufrane were at a souk. A sorcerer, inspired by Moulay Yazid, arrived along with many armed bandits. The sorcerer wanted to prove his power, to be considered a king. The sorcerer, Bouhalassa, chained up the Jews and tortured them. The local population, who had treated the Jews of the area very well, freed ten of the sixty. Bouhalassa gave the fifty Jews the choice of conversion to Islam or death. He built a great fire. The Jews decided to go as a group into the fire, rather than have even one of them convert. All of them jumped into the fire, one by one. Legend is that a column of fire rose up to the sky. At night, candelabra of fire came down from the sky. Persecutions of Jews stopped. The ten Jews and thirty Muslims gathered up the ashes and brought them to the cemetery in Oufrane.

The cemetery contains an area forbidden to all human beings, where only the tzadeks rest. The ashes of the fifty martyrs are outside this area. There are tombs almost 2,000 years old, others more recent. Source: Pierre Flamand, Diaspora en Terre d'Islam, Les Communautes Israelites du Sud Marocain , Casablanca, 1957

South of Agadir is Ifrane Anti-Atlas, where the tombs of the 50 Nesrafimes or Jewish martyrs are located. In 1790 during the tyrannical reign of Moulay Yazid, these Jews chose to jump into a fire rather than convert to Islam. Ifrane is also believed to contain Jewish tombs over 2,000 years old. Source:  [February 2002]

video of cemetery and town information. [January 2010]


 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 February 2010 10:52
 
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