Sce4 A Golden Earring In Morocco
By M. DLUZNOWSKY
My friend Dan ben-Sosan, who
lived in the Moroccan village of
Nagazey, was a ceramics-maker. All
day he stood over his kiln, firing
tiles and creating delicately colored
stones. Later he made them into
beautiful mosaics for the homes of
wealthy Arabs. The window of his
little house opened on the village
square and very often the loud
chanting of the Arab muezzin,
calling all good Moslems to prayer,
broke in on his thoughts as he bent
over the yellowed pages of a holy
At such moments, Dan liked to
weave tales about his fellow Jews
and how they had come to Morocco
in the days of King David. Most of
all, perhaps, he liked to tell about
the Jews who still lived in the Atlas
Mountains and about the cave-
dwelling Jews near the Sahara
Desert. Dan described them so
tket S9 4 ,/
often that I hoped I might one day
meet one of them.
One evening Dan sent for me.
There was something urgent about
his message and I came at once.
When I entered his house, I saw a
Jew with a beard so black that
there was a glint of blye in it. His
leathery skin was furrowed by
desert sand and wind. And then I
caught my breath: from one of his
ears dangled a large round golden
Dan introduced the visitor to
me. His name was Samuel and he
came from a colony of cave-dwellers
near the Sahara. He was wandering
from place to place gathering
contributions, so that his village
might build its own synagogue.
Even during our introduction
Samuel frequently reached up and
touched his golden earring. At last I
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 23, 1988
could no longer hold back my
"The earring," I began. "May I
ask why you wear it?"
"All of us," he replied, "all the
Jews who live in the Atlas
Mountains and in the caves near
the desert wear earrings of silver
and gold." He read the unspoken
question in my face and went on:
"You remember, do you not,
that the Bible tells us of Moses and
his going up to heaven to receive
our Torah. When he was away from
them, the Israelites grew impatient.
They went to Aaron the High Priest.
They cried: 'Make a golden calf for
us! We will worship i!' Aaron told
them to bring all their ornaments to
him. They did. They threw their
jewelry into a fire and from it came
out a golden calf."
Samuel paused and breathed
"And now, my friend, hear and
understand this. We Jews who dwell
in the hills and caves of Morocco,
are the descendants of the handful
— it was no more — who refused to
help make the golden calf. And as a
symbol of commemoration we wear
a golden earring.
"And we will continue to wear it
until that day when all the world
believes that we are the
descendants of those who refused
even for one minute to worship any
but the One God." He stopped. "Do
you believe it, stranger?" he
I nodded. "I believe it,
Samuel." And indeed I did.
Samuel stood up, his eyes
glistening with happiness and pride.
He touched the golden earring that
gleamed in the lamplight and faced
east to say the evening prayer.
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