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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Israel Series at HebrewPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Israeli holidays and observances. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 17, Mimouna
Mimouna - מימונה (mimuna) is a holiday celebrated by Jews from northwest Africa—primarily Morocco. It begins immediately after the end of the Passover holiday. This holiday tradition began in 18th-century Morocco, and was revived in Israel. While it was once associated with only one ethnicity, Mimouna has gradually become a national holiday.
Let’s find out about the holiday in which Israelis open their homes—and their hearts.
Now, before we get into more detail, I've got a question for you-
Can you guess where the holiday gets its name from?
If you don't already know, keep listening! The answer will be revealed at the end of this lesson!
The holiday of Mimouna carries both social and religious significance. It symbolizes the transition from Passover and its dietary prohibitions to routine life. In Morocco, it was a way to restore relationships with Jewish and Muslim neighbors. During Passover, Jews would not eat at their neighbors’ homes because of differences in their customs of Kashrut observance - השגחת כשרות (hashgachat cashrut), and therefore, once the holiday was over, they would invite their neighbors, both Jewish and Muslim, to their homes, in order to demonstrate that the disconnect didn’t arise from contempt. It was meant to restore relationships in good spirit.
On the eve of Mimouna, hosts leave their doors open in order to invite in anyone who wishes to come, be they friend or stranger. Tables are laden with plenty of sweet foods prepared by the family members, which symbolize the hope for sweetness and luck. Most of the traditional foods - מאכלים מסורתיים (ma’achalim mesorti’im) are made of dates, peanuts, almonds, nuts, and sugar, as well as fried dough. Revellers wear traditional North African costumes -לבוש מסורתי (levush mesorati), and greet their guests with the traditional blessing of Tirbahu Watis’adu - תרבחו ותסעדו.
North African Jews continued celebrating Mimouna in the State of Israel, and in 1966, the holiday took on a new identity. The Association of Immigrants from Fez, in Israel, initiated public celebrations and made Mimouna a holiday for everyone in Israel, a holiday of brotherhood - אחווה (achva) and the integration of diaspora communities. Jews of North African origin that celebrate Mimouna invite people of all ethnicities into their homes, as well as civil servants and politicians. Among the guests, the president and prime minister of the State of Israel regularly participate in Mimouna events celebrated throughout Israel.
Towns with large communities of Moroccan immigrants would organize especially jubilant Mimouna festivities, since almost every family would visit every other family. Festivities would continue until dawn.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
What’s the source of the name of the Mimouna holiday?
There are a few theories on the source of the holiday’s name. The most accepted theory is that the word Mimouna comes from the Arabic Maimun, which means luck and success. Observers believe that the holiday is a benevolent charm for earning a living and for finding a soulmate - נפש תאומה (nefesh te’oma).
How was this lesson? Did you learn something interesting? When was the last time you hosted your neighbors?
Leave a comment letting us know at HebrewPod101.com, and we'll see you in the next lesson!

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When was the last time you hosted your neighbors?