Last week an agreement was signed between HAF and the (Moroccan) Jewish Community of Marrakech*, and a pilot project is now in the planning stages. [*In Morocco, a “Jewish Community” is a legal entity, much like a Commune, and it has a president.]
The project premise is:
Sprinkled throughout Morocco, Jewish sacred shrines occupy land owned by the local Jewish Communities, and these are often in rural areas. The Jewish Community will lend HAF some arable land adjoining a particular religious shrine for 5 years so that HAF can build a community tree nursery there, training representatives of the neighboring villages in fruit tree arboriculture as they build and maintain the nursery over the 5-year period. At the end of the 2nd and 5th years, young trees will be distributed to the poorer families in the local villages, and the newly-trained cultivators will pass along their knowledge to the other villagers.
Morocco has had a rich religious history. In the 8th century AD when the Arabs brought Islam to present-day Morocco, Jewish people had already inhabited Morocco since 70 CE, co-existing with the Berber peoples, sharing language and culture. This combined Moroccan Muslim and Jewish community project will be another reminder of this rich shared history and mutual respect.
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President of the High Atlas Foundation
New York City and Marrakech,