During the 1950s and 1960s, the student cohort in a yeshiva or religious school in the northern English town of Sunderland was entirely made up of Jews from Morocco. The religious magazine Mishpacha tells their story: (with thanks: Nigel)
From 1952 to 1967 and beyond, in the quiet, chilly British town of Sunderland, far from the Mediterranean sunshine, far from their parents in Tangiers, Fez, Casablanca, or Marrakesh, boys who had barely studied Gemara before blossomed into serious yeshivah students.
Some notable personages include Rav Nissim Rebibo ztz”l, who became rosh beis din of Marseille, then of Paris, then of the entire France; Rabbi Shimon Biton ztz”l, who served as the venerated av beis din of Marseille, his fascinating life recorded in the ArtScroll biography of his wife Rabbanit Shulamit Biton-Blau, From Djerba to Jerusalem; Dayan Saadia Amor ztz”l, rosh beth din of the Sephardi Beth Din of the UK and mechutan of Rav Mordechai Eliyahu; Rav Avraham Baddouch ztz”l, a rosh kollel in Mexico; Rav Refael Yisrael ztz”l; and yibadel lechayim tovim, Rav Gavriel Ittah of Strasbourg, among others.
There’s also Kabbalist Rabbi David Pinto who has set up Torah institutions around the world, and Rav Shalom Gabbai, who went back to lead the community in Marrakesh.
Dozens of others became shochtim and menakrim trusted by stringent kashrus authorities, and sincere, learned laymen.
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