Studies in the history of the jews of Morocco- David Corcos

David Corcos, author of the present papers, was born in Mogador in 1917, son of Jacob Corcos (d. 1951) and Hannah Abulafia. He was thus on his mother's side too the scion of a famous family and he was perfectly right in combining both family names, according to the old Spanish fashion, and calling himself Corcos Abulafia

He was brought up by his father in a way befitting the son of a family imbued with Jewish and Western culture, and was faithful to the tradition of his ancestors. His father engaged private teachers who gave him lessons in all branches of secular knowledge and others who taught him Jewish lore, Talmud and even Zohar

Like so many members of his family, he became a merchant. The Jews of Mogador, and not least the Corcos, had always carried on overseas trade and had close relations with French and English ports. David Corcos too was a successful merchant, engaged in export and import activities, such as the export of almonds, grain, carob, etc. to England, France and Germany, and the import of tea and linen to Morocco. In the course of his commercial ac­tivities he often travelled to France and England. Life seemed set fair

But in the years following the foundation of the State of Israel, life in the newly independent Arab states became more and more difficult for the Jews and everywhere a mass exodus began. The great majority of the upper classes, the rich and the intelligentsia, chose France. The Jews belonging to these classes were not only imbued with French culture: they felt themselves to be French­men. Many, like the Algerian Jews, were indeed French citizens. People belonging to the lower classes of Jewry went to the State of Israel. The rich and intellectual settled in France, and as their attachment to Judaism had been somewhat weakened by an assimilationist education, their descendants, or most of them, are lost to the Jewish people. The sons and grandsons of these Moroccan and Algerian Jews will no longer be Jews. David Corcos chose Israel and settled in 1959 in Jerusalem. He frankly avowed that he did it for one reason: he had realized that only by going to Israel could he be sure that his children would remain Jewish and not betray the traditions of his family, so dear to him

In Israel, he was at first engaged in commercial activities. But before long he withdrew from commerce, seeing that he could not succeed in a country whose social framework and style of life were unfamiliar to him. Thereafter he occupied himself with the study of the history of the Jews in Morocco and began to publish learned papers, in French, English and Hebrew. His interest in history was genuine. In talking with him about historical studies, one had the feeling that he had finally found the opportunity to devote his time to what he considered not only a fascinating activity, but also the fulfilment of a sacred duty. He believed that a great heritage, the achievements of Moroccan Jewry, should be fittingly commemorated and that historical records and data refer­ring to it must be saved, now that the millenary existence of North African Jewries had come to an end

How was his great interest in historical studies aroused? As a child, he surely heard many stories about the achievements of his forefathers. But perhaps we shall not be wrong in explaining it also by the care he took of the family archives

The Corcos of Mogador, who were for several generations on close terms with the Royal Palace, carefully kept the letters exchanged with the Moslem rulers. So there came into being true family archives comprising documents of almost two centuries, the 18th and the 19th. These letters deal with commercial transactions, such as the purchase of various articles commanded by the sultan's government, others with services rendered to the Royal Palace, recommendations, etc. Some letters are purely personal, congratulations or condolences; others are documents referring to the civic status of Moroccan Jewry

הירשם לבלוג באמצעות המייל

הזן את כתובת המייל שלך כדי להירשם לאתר ולקבל הודעות על פוסטים חדשים במייל.

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