The conclusion of Passover this year was marked with a joyous Mimouna celebration at the house of Jeff and Rena Basch. The Mimouna bonfire echoed a tradition that originates in Morocco as a cultural holiday and is celebrated in Israel with picnics and barbecues in the park. The weather was warm and everyone was so glad to be spending time together, releasing the constriction of the passover holiday by eating carbs and sweets! (pictures below!) The event was such a success we are hard at work planning more outdoor social gatherings for the summer, if you are interested in hosting something- let Gillian know!
The origins of the holiday vary depending on who you’re talking to. For some, Mimouna celebrates the yarzheit of Maimonides. For others, it began as an interfaith celebration of community and liberation in Morocco. The nation of Morocco is home to many Sephardic jews and Muslims; on the final night of Passover, these two communities would come together and share a meal filled with sweets and carbs. It was a time that Muslim neighbors could expect to be invited into the homes of their Jewish friends to celebrate the conclusion of the holiday. Many communities around the world have used this tradition to reconstruct opportunities to celebrate community and interfaith friendships.
At our Mimouna bonfire, Clare Kinberg shared a beautiful Mimouna family tradition. Clare blessed people with mint leaves dipped in buttermilk and dates and shared a blessing of fertility. This blessing was shared from her Moroccan relatives. The fertility blessing was not limited to childbirth, Clare encouraged everyone to think about what aspects of their life they would like to ‘fertilize’ or nourish. This could be something like a garden, a career, a relationship etc. It is a beautiful tradition that we were lucky to share on this beautiful evening. To learn more about the tradition, check out this article written by her niece, Rabbi Yohanna Kinberg.
photo credit: Emily Eisbruch