Illuminated Beth Bookmark by Jean-Jacques LEVI

Rabbi Joshua ben Jacob BERDUGO


Rabbi Joshua ben Jacob BERDUGO (b. 1878 Meknes - d. 1953) of the Raphael BERDUGO Synagogue. He had a strong personality and on a number of occasions was in conflict with the leaders of the Church and with members of the French government, by whom he was respected. He was open to the modern world, and encouraged the reopening in 1911 of the Alliance school in Meknes despite the opposition of his colleagues. In 1913, he found the first Zionist organization in Meknes Hibat Sion. The communal rules and regulations adopted during this time were published in the pamphlets of "The Council of Moroccan Rabbis" (Casablanca). Named chief Rabbi of Meknes and dayan in 1904 with Rabbi Salomon ben Chettrit. Named vice president of Rabbinical Tribunal of Meknes in 1924. In 1928, he founded the first synagogue in the New Mellah (which was later named after him). Named president of Rabbinical Tribunal in 1932. In 1941, he succeeded Rabbi Yekoutiel Haim BERDUGO as president of high rabbinical court and Chief Rabbi of Morocco. He distinguished himself by his great openness of spirit and his firmity in confronting authorities. Retired in 1949 due to illness. His funeral in 1953 in Meknes was one of the largest in the history of the community.

None of his books were published.

Founded a synagogue (named after him) at the Nouveau Mellah (literally ghetto in Arabic). Another synagogue (the New Synagogue or Slat Jdida) was founded just afterwards by his detractors.

He had seven children

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