Call of Rabat for the Preservation of the African Jewish Heritage

'Africa is the Frontier of the Future,' says Malcolm Hoenlein at the 2nd Jewish Africa Conference

RABAT, Morocco, June 19, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Leaders representing six African countries with significant Jewish heritage signed the Call of Rabat, an urgent appeal to advance cooperation across the continent, at the 2nd Jewish Africa Conference organized by the Mimouna Association and the American Sephardi Federation at the Policy Center for the New South.

"I am happy to announce from Rabat, the 2022 Capital of African Culture, that a call is going out on this day to Africa and all the world to preserve African Jewish heritage," said El Mehdi Boudra, Founder and President of Mimouna Association, a Moroccan NGO.

The Call of Rabat was signed by African and international Jewish leaders as well as friends of the Jewish people in Africa: Malcolm Hoenlein (Vice Chair, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations), HE Jorge Santos (Minister of Cabo Verdean Communities), HE René Trabelsi (Former Minister of Tourism, Tunisia), HE Serge Berdugo (Secretary General, Council of Moroccan Jewish Communities), Shaun Zagnoev (President, South African Jewish Board of Deputies), Magda Haroun (President, Egypt's Jewish Community), Professor Ephraim Isaac (Founder, Ethiopia's Peace & Development Center), Elmehdi Boudra, and Jason Guberman (Executive Director, American Sephardi Federation). 

Africa "is the richest continent by its diversity and values and we are proud to be Africans. As an African land, Morocco believes in Africa, advocates in its favor, and offers support for preserving its diversity," said Boudra. 

The second Jewish Africa Conference brought together 51 government officials (including Moroccan Royal Advisor André Azoulay), entrepreneurs, scholars, diplomats, rabbis, and community leaders from 22 countries. 

"Throughout history, Africa has been a place of refuge and rebirth for the Jewish people. ... The Sephardi astronomers and artists, travelers and traders, publishers and philosophers who pioneered today's cosmopolitan world were frequently from or found in Africa," said Guberman.

"We recognize the importance of the Jewish heritage that exists in our country, Cape Verde, at every level. … I truly hope this Conference will shed light and … promote unity, solidarity, and cooperation in the world," said Cape Verdean Minister Santos.

"As a Jewish Namibian businesswoman, I am greatly encouraged by this action to bring the preservation of an often-overlooked aspect of Africa's heritage to the world stage," said Andrea Berry, Strategic Director of the Pupkewitz Group, a recipient of the "Moses, the African Jewish Leadership Award." 

"Africa is the frontier of the future," said Hoenlein, who also received the Moses Award. "For [Africa] to be successful, it must be firmly rooted in its past, in its history and reality ... Jews look back not to get lost in history but to learn its lessons."

The other award recipients were HE Ambassador Belaynesh Zavadia (Israel's 1st Ethiopian-Israeli Ambassador), HE Minister Santos, HE Former Minister Trebelsi, and SAJBD's President Zagnoev. 

"I was most impressed by the quality and dedication of the leadership of all the Jewish communities and their willingness to engage. Secondly, it was gratifying to see that global Jewish leaders graced this event with their presence and contributed with vital global perspectives. Thirdly, it began generating a sense of common purpose among the African Jewish communities and a platform for future collaboration," said Zagnoev, leader of Africa's largest Jewish community.

HE Ambassador Adama Dieng (then-Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide) delivered closing remarks at the 1st Jewish Africa Conference at NYC's Center for Jewish History in 2019.

Media Contact
Name: Anna Giorganashvili 

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Image 1: 2nd Jewish Africa Conference

Jewish Africa Conference organizers El Mehdi Boudra (Mimouna Association) and Jason Guberman (American Sephardi Federation) with recipients of the "Moses, the African Jewish Leadership Awards" at the Policy Center for the New South, Rabat, Morocco.

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2nd Jewish Africa Conference