Back to Bread: Israelis celebrate Mimouna

Passover holiday comes to end with Israelis attending traditional Moroccan-Jewish festivals; millions tour country during holiday.

Netanyahu at Mimouna (photo credit: Avishag Shar Yashuv)
Netanyahu at Mimouna
(photo credit: Avishag Shar Yashuv)
Traditional post-Passover festivities, known as Mimouna celebrations, were held around the country on Monday night and Tuesday with several politicians taking part in the lively events.
Deputy Religious Affairs Minister and Bayit Yehudi MK Rabbi Eliahu Ben-Dahan attended a Mimouna in Ashkelon on Monday night, along with MK Yoni Chetboun, also of Bayit Yehudi.
The celebration is a tradition that began in the Jewish communities of North Africa, in which families open up their homes to guests and provide leavened products, prohibited during Passover, such as bread, cakes and various other delicacies including mufletta, a type of pancake eaten with honey.
The festival has since been widely adopted throughout Israel.
Speaking at the event, Ben- Dahan, who was born in Morocco, said that the festival provides a message of unity.
“The Mimouna festivities symbolize, above all, the unity of the Jewish people around the world in the belief and trust of the coming of the Messiah,” the minister said.
Ben-Dahan explained that the rabbis of Morocco worried that at the end of the Passover holiday, a time defined by freedom and redemption, the Jews of the community would still not feel redeemed. The rabbis feared the community would be despondent and their faith in their ultimate redemption would decrease.
The rabbis therefore established the tradition “to strengthen the faith and trust [of the community] in the redemption of the Jewish people and the coming of the Messiah,” Ben-Dahan said.
Chetboun, whose parents immigrated from Morocco to Israel, lauded the celebration as a cultural contribution to the state.
“The Mimouna is the warmth and hospitality which immigrants from Morocco and North Africa contributed to Israeli society,” Chetboun said.
“Above the arguments and the differences between cultures and communities, and for sure beyond the political arguments, we are all one people and its important to remember this.
“We must also remember the spiritual value of the Mimouna as a sign of the expectation and yearning for the coming of the redeemer at the end of Passover, from the redemption of Egypt to the future redemption.”
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat also attended a Mimouna in the capital, saying that the holiday unites the people and the country.
Economy and Trade Minister and Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett attended a Mimouna in the southern city of Netivot and helped make the muflettot at the event.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara also attended a Mimouna festival, traveling to a local celebration in Or Akiva.