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TETUÁN (ancient name, Tamuda ), town and port in N. *Morocco. It was destroyed by the Spanish in 1399 but rebuilt a few years before 1492 by an Andalusian chieftain, al-Mandārī, who used it exclusively as a refuge for Moors and some Spanish Jews. The Jewish community began to grow in importance from 1511. Due to the positive attitude of the rulers of Tetuán, the sea outlet gave great impetus to the development of maritime trade. Trade remained exclusively in the hands of the local Jewish community almost until the beginning of the 20th century. The relations between Jews and Andalusian Muslims always remained excellent. Both communities had occasion to suffer from the incursions of the *Rif Berbers and other elements: in 1610 they were suddenly impoverished by the exorbitant tax which was imposed by the sultan; in 1665 the town was raided by a rebellious army, and the splendid Bibas Synagogue was burned and razed. By 1727 there were seven synagogues in the town. Serious persecutions took place in 1790: robberies, acts of rape, murders of Jewish notables, and other atrocities were perpetrated by order of Mūlāy Yazīd, the new sultan, in an act of revenge against the prosperous community, as it had refused to loan him money some years earlier – he had intended to use the money to raise an army and rebel openly against his father's rule. One of Mūlāy Yazīd's own sons, a pretender to his father's throne, in 1822 looted the Jewish community, whose considerable wealth was found sufficient to keep a considerable army. Another wave of atrocities and lootings took place in 1860 during the Spanish-Moroccan war.

Until 1772 Tetuán was the residence of the representatives of the European nations. After their forced departure for Tangier and the exclusion of all Christians from Tetuán, the Christian representatives were replaced by consuls and consular agents, who were chosen from among the members of the local Jewish community. This community appears to have always been comprised of at least 3,000 persons, and occasionally it soared to 8,000 and more. Its first av bet din was R. Ḥayyim Bibas, one of the expellees from *Spain. For many generations the spiritual and temporal leadership of the community was entrusted to members of the same families – *Abudaraham, *Almosnino, Bendelac, *Bibas, Cazès, Coriat, Crudo, Falcon, Hadida, *Hassan, *Nahon, and Taurel.

In the 19th century the community venerated the dayyan R. Isaac ben Walid, author of Va-Yomer Yiẓḥak (2 vols., Leghorn, 1855), an inexhaustible source of information about the social, economic, and religious history of the Jewish community of Tetuán. In no other community were Jewish descendants of Spanish and Portuguese refugees able to preserve so well their language (Castilian Spanish), the integrity of their customs, and the purity of their traditions. Until the middle of the 18th century the Jews of Tetuán gave shelter to Portuguese Marranos, who returned to Judaism when they settled in the town. In the same century an influx of Jews from other Moroccan communities, attracted by the great prosperity enjoyed by that town, started to flow into Tetuán. Generally, these newcomers were easily assimilated into the original Spanish-Portuguese nucleus, but at the same time they also introduced superstitious beliefs and spread among the Jews throughout northern Morocco a dialect called "Ḥakétie," a mixture of corrupted Castilian, Arabic, and Hebrew.

Although they generally tended to return, the Jews of Tetuán often left their native town. They formed early elements of communities such as Melilla, Oran, Gibraltar, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Rio de Janeiro, Lima, and Caracas. During the 19th century Tangier owed its own prosperity to Tetuán. Emigration increased drastically when the Jews of Tetuán were consigned to a single quarter of the town (August 1807), the Juderia, where they were forced to live until 1912. The community had its own private schools, where subjects were taught in Castilian. There were also several important yeshivot in the town. The first *Alliance Israélite Universelle school was founded in Tetuán in 1862, with the support of R. Isaac ben Walid. The major part of the budget needed for the upkeep of the school was provided by the notables of the community. From 1912 – under the Spanish protectorate and until the present day – several families have maintained a considerable influence on the affairs of the town.

[David Corcos]

Tetuán was the largest Jewish community in Spanish Morocco. Of 14,196 Jews in Spanish Morocco in 1949, 7,630 lived in Tetuán. In 1951, however, after emigration to Israel and to the international zone of Tangier, only about 8,000 Jews remained in Spanish Morocco; 4,122 lived in Tetuán. The 1960 census indicated 3,103 Jews in the town and by 1968 their number had dropped to about 1,000. The Jewish community in Tetuán had three Alliance Israélite Universelle schools, which in 1950 were attended by 746 pupils, but by 1957 the number had dropped to 430. There was also a vocational training school, Or Yeladim, at which 250 children studied in 1957. In 1961 the total number of pupils attending Jewish schools was 565. The community's affairs were run by a council, headed by Jacob Benarroch until 1954. In 1955 a new council was appointed by government order, and Jacob Serfaty (d. 1978) was appointed its head, serving in this capacity until his immigration to Israel in 1972. The rabbinical council was headed by R. Judah Halfon. After his retirement R. Abraham Bibas was appointed dayyan. By 1968 most of the community's institutions had closed. In the early years of the 21st century only a handful of Jews remained in Tetuán. Those who left settled either in the nearby Spanish enclaves, in parts of Spain, or in Latin America. Others migrated to the community of *Casablanca.

[Haim J. Cohen /

Michael M. Laskier (2nd edition)]


D. Abbou, Musulmans, Andalous et Judéo-Espagnols (1953), 401–14; Miège, Maroc, passim; Hirschberg, Afrikah, index; J.B. Vilar Ramirez, Juderia de Tetuán (1969); A.N. Chouraqui, Between East and West (1968), index. add. bibliography: M.M. Laskier, The Alliance Israélite Universelle and the Jewish Communities of Morocco: 18621962 (1983); idem, Israel and the Maghreb: From Statehood to Oslo (2004).

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Provincial capital of Morocco's northern Rif region.

Tetuan, with a population of about 466,000 (projection for 2001 based on 1994 census number of 363,813), was founded (13061307) by the Maranid sultan to serve as a base for attacks against Ceuta. It was destroyed by Henry III of Castile in 1400, and rebuilt around 1492. Tetuan was occupied by Spain on 6 February 1860, after they had defeated the Anjar tribesmen.

As the first part of Morocco to be occupied by Europeans in two centuries, Tetuan symbolized the threat from Christian Europe. Pressure by Britain and rethinking within Spain's leadership resulted in Spain's agreement to evacuate the city (2 May 1862) in return for a lower indemnity payment. In 1906, Spain was given responsibility for policing the port of Tetuan by a thirteen-nation conference called to maintain the balance of power between European states in Morocco, and to institute economic reforms and an open door policy. Three years later, Spain began its conquest of northern Morocco and built road links to Tetuan. It was made the capital of the Spanish protectorate in 1913, and remained so until Morocco attained independence in 1956 and Spain evacuated the area.

bruce maddy-weitzman

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Tetuán: see Tétouan, Morocco.