Nostalgia Sunday – Mimouna photo opportunity
Mimouna, 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.