“In the division of labor, which seems to have been established for a long time between Jewish and Muslim artisans, certain crafts are traditionally reserved for Jews. These were particularly the handling of valuable material like gold, silver, stones precious and fine pearls.
- Jewelers: Jewish jewelers, whether from Fez or Mogador, have a reputation for skill and taste that has not been denied for centuries.
The artisan jewelers are designated by the Arabic term; dahhabin for gold, sekkakin or also sayyaghin, for silver.
- Working with gold and silver thread: One of the most flourishing Jewish industries was the manufacture of precious metal wire.
The surname Kohen-Sqalli is still very widespread in Morocco where it is held to have Sevillian origin, by families who have carried it for centuries.
The surname Sqalli is also worn by Muslims, those of Fez in particular, probably former Jewish converts.
- Other Jewish crafts: The Jews of Morocco created various handicrafts: from manufacture of belt buckles, the nielloing of stirrups and ironwork to woodturners… In the clothing industries, there were, in addition to tailors, artisans who made caps or chachiyya, slippers embroidered with gold or silver for women (shrabel), specialists in the work of silk (tahrart), lace, buttons, belts, etc.”
Text translated from: Haïm Zafrani, Mille ans de vie Juive au Maroc, éd. Maisonneuve and Larose, Paris, 1983, PP.1516, 152, 153.
You can of course find all the documents from this exhibition on our digital library.