Nostalgia Sunday – Mimouna photo opportunity

March 31, 2013 - 5:30 PM by

mimounaMimouna, the traditional North African Jewish celebration held the day after Passover, marks the start of spring. Israelis of Moroccan and Algerian Jewish origin open their homes to visitors and offer guests special holiday cakes and sweets containing the leavening that had been off-limits throughout the Passover week.

One of the holiday specialties is mofletta (also spelled mufleta, mofleta, moufleta, etc.), a thin crepe made of water, flour and oil, and eaten warm with honey or jam.

Wikipedia describes Mimouna in Israel as “[having] become a popular annual happening featuring outdoor parties, picnics and BBQs” while politely omitting the locations of said picnics, which can take place on any open patch of grass, be it a park, nature preserve or highway median strip.

In 1966, Mimouna was introduced as a national holiday and — in an extension of an already overly-long spring break — yet another day off from school. It has been adopted by other ethnic groups, mainly in the Mizrahi sector.

And therefore, Mimouna also marks the traditional photo opportunity for Israeli politicians to cozy up to the Maghreb communities in towns like Sderot that are known for their large concentrations of North African Jews.

Tradition also requires that the photos be characterized by uncomfortable “East meets West” encounters between suited Asheknazi pols trying to fit in by wearing a red tarbush, sitting on floor cushions, dancing awkwardly and, of course, eating mofletta as if they’d never tasted a pancake before.

But over the generations, this divide has become less pronounced, the photo opp has become a well-oiled machine and Mimouna has been mainstreamed to the point where it’s everyone’s holiday. At least for schoolchildren, if not for their parents who must go back to work.

The Israel Revealed to the Eye family album project, spearheaded by Yad Ben Zvi, has some wonderful photos from Mimouna in Sderot.

And for an excellent slide show of Israeli politicians getting their mofletta on, visit this post on Maariv NRG.

Comments

2 Comments on Nostalgia Sunday – Mimouna photo opportunity

  1. Rachel Neiman on Mon, Apr 1st 2013 10:50 PM
  2. PM Netanyahu and his Wife Attend Maimouna Festivities in Or Akiva
    (Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara, this evening (Monday, 1 April 2013), attended Maimouna festivities in Or Akiva. The Prime Minister said, “Jewish People, eat and enjoy! The Jewish People are moving from matza and bitter herbs to mufleta and honey. I would like to thank the Israel Police and the security services for protecting and guarding Israelis who traveled around the country during the holiday.”
    Prime Minister Netanyahu added, “I would like you to know about the pain that I feel for the families that lost loved ones in traffic accidents and for the Sarayah family, which lost three of its sons in a tragedy off the coast of Ashkelon. I spoke with the father of the family and I told him that I speak on behalf of all Israelis, that he and the rest of his family should find the strength to overcome the disaster. Hundreds of thousands of Israelis are now celebrating Maimouna. I call on all Israelis to drive home safely.”

  3. Rachel Neiman on Tue, Apr 2nd 2013 10:45 AM

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