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Practicing my family's Ghosts in Morocco

What I have discovered from memory and heritage and injustice, the land of my ancestors

My grandmother Mimi misplaced his thoughts too much memory and found the rabbi's grave. His mother and father, only a boy, took his weight on his shoulders for two hours in every approach in the desert.

This can be a story my grandfather advised us about his childhood in Morocco, although by that point he was not a toddler. I'd like to tell her many times in the summer time, once we got here to Israel through the terrible months, or in the autumn she and my grandmother spent in New York the place we lived after the kid. As a toddler, I typically feared my grandfather, who was arduous and precise and had a shallow and rumbling sound with the sides of my grandmother leveling out energetically.

So I ask him to inform me about Morocco. A number of the tales he advised together with his eyes: how his grandmother asked him how many eggs he needed in his omelette, and when the seven-year-old boldly stated 12, he merely obliged; how his grandfather was uncommon among the many Jews as a result of he was allowed to grow grapes, they usually burned grapes with their ft to make wine.

He stated a variety of forgotten what later I understood to be a selection. He had forgotten to talk Arabic. He thought he had a lot faraway from his childhood in Agadir, where his mother and father had moved from the town of Essaouira, often known as Mogador, to seek alternatives. It wasn't such a nasty thing to overlook; that they had a new country to build, all Jews around the globe collectively, and no one believed more eagerly than Meir Abihasera, because in 1944 his sister's boyfriend showed him a postcard from Herzl and informed him that the Holy Land was presupposed to be

After which nature did not overlook: In 1960, ten years after he left, the earthquake leveled Agadir and killed some 12,000 individuals in a few minutes, including his relations. Agadir continues to be referred to as, however what he remembers is a pile of rocks, a mass grave.

I attempted to imagine this place where tombs might enhance reminiscence illness. It had to be a magical land. I used to be not very eager to go to the darkish landscapes of my grandparents in Europe, whose worlds had been eliminated by way of man-made violence. The mysteries have been in Morocco, and individuals who weren’t my grandfather have been a Jewish paradise. How does such a sensible man, a person who has no religion or something that did not make clear rationality, consider that the rabbi's tomb had healed his mom? And it was stated that my grandmother was each a Berber and a Jew. How might it’s?

Once I acquired somewhat older and came to the journalist, I requested her to take me there and let me inform the story. I had the sensitivity of the Reporter searching, the need of making an attempt extra ache. He refused. He wouldn't have gone, he stated – repeatedly. His city was gone. Just a few graves remained. "I was never a Moroccan Jew," he jogged my memory. "I was a Jew in Morocco."

I didn't understand it. My mother and father had left Israel, their nation of delivery, the place my grandfather had been hit by robberies and imprisonment, despite the fact that my mother tells me right now that she by no means despatched. But we all the time got here again. Why couldn't he?

Last yr I decided to go to Morocco myself, whereas my grandfather might nonetheless tell me tales and draw maps for napkins. I had an element who thought he might change his thoughts with the coming of me, however it seems that he's not altering his thoughts. He agreed to let my rigorously arranged condo in Rehovot, the place he nonetheless dreamed of my grandmother's dwelling and on his aspect. There he glanced sideways into my pocket book. "You can save," he stated, "but you have to remove it."

"This is not a fiction, it is a real story." Right now's Agadir, Blessing and White, is designed for seashore journey in the 1970s, with Agadir advertising billboards for Agadir Land, amusement park and fitness centers of the dimensions of Walmarte.

, who has agreed to hitch me on this journey as an alternative of his father. the journey he agreed to make in 2000 together with his 4 siblings and his mother After a month of touring, my grandmother was recognized with cancer that might ultimately end her life.

I have additionally been reworked by different reinforcements. Raphael Elmaleh or Rafi consumes salt and pepper particles on the long pony tail aspect of his fleece vest and turns black Ray-Bans on his head. He makes use of extra Yiddish than is completely vital for an individual born in Casablanca, and says he is the one Jewish information in the Arab world, and it isn’t disputed that theatrical oy vey or shout over schmattee goes an extended solution to cheer guests. He picked up his Yiddish, who labored at Ashkenazi kosher restaurant in London, where he requested his mother and father to ship him to high school when a Muslim boy grabbed his cranium. To this present day, Rafi exudes pastrami sandwiches

When he pumps his fuel pedal to Citroen, he fluctuates casually, typically as a focal point, between French, Arabic, Hebrew, English and Yiddish. he takes round a lot of the yr. Avi from Kabbalah Middle is coming; rituals, and lambs to be slaughtered have to be acquired. "And one more thing," he returns to the speakerphone. “We need LITTLE COOKIES! Yallah, bye. ”

Bigger groups require Moroccan Muslim drivers. "We can't use the word Israel," he explains, "That's why we use the word Texas."

We're on our solution to see my grandfather's tomb, a stone meaning as few stakes in the country my household continues to be right here. Rafi says there are 30 Jews left in Agadir, one with a La Scala fish restaurant. (I recommend squid.)

At Rehovot's dinner, Grandfather had pulled the remaining napkin from the previous town: a seating space with stairs from the decrease town of Talborj to the upper city. And the cemeteries – a Jew, a Christian, and a Muslim – that were not affected by the earthquake. His father's tomb was left untouched

How did it occur? The whole lot was crushed, but the cemeteries? He didn't even homicide a smile, "You can't kill them twice."

The king ordered the tractors to degree out the remaining destroy of the earthquake, which was the unbreakable grave of numerous bodies, many Jews. When he came right here virtually 20 years in the past and noticed it, my grandfather received sick in a method he didn't need to describe. It took his voice away. My mom remembers it. He not often talked about the rest of the journey, he tells me.

The cemetery is ringed with a saffron wall and eucalyptus timber. Between concrete, marble and granite slabs, there are 40 tombs of lifeless youngsters in the same corner. My grandfather's tomb is an easy sand stone, cracked on the aspect, with black letters. His youngsters added current updates: refurbished letters, Carrara marble panels. Later, we understand that we came out uncovered and roughly on a shawl on our head.

Mardoche Abehsera died on February 7, 1947. There isn’t any birthday. Without it, it was going to be a few days on the 70th anniversary of its dying. On the foot of the tomb was a rusty copper-green jar, which my mother traveled together with her siblings in 2000. Outdoors was a photo of my uncle and his household, who have been now etched in a pale blue. There his sons, who at the moment are grownup army personnel, are the boys; Inside there are notes that my sister and I additionally wrote.

"Half a year he was sick," my grandfather had informed me again to Israel. “No, he's been sick for years. Two or three years getting worse. “His eyes are very tearful.

When the typhoid took him, he also took the mind of his mother Mimi. "He had bad thoughts," he said. “He couldn't do anything: no cooking, no homework. He said terribly nonsense. What nonsense? He saw all my father's spirit. “Do you see a camel? It looks like a camel, but it's really your dad. “”

It fell to my grandfather Meir, then a 14-year-old, to be a man of the house, his mother and his five sisters and his youthful brothers. To stay straight, to be unstable, to be unstoppable in what he also demanded from others. I questioned why my mother was crying for a person she never knew once I listened to her voice pause by studying Kaddish and prayers that correspond to the letters of her grandfather's identify. He cries to the boy who needed to carry the load of everyone in his crushed metropolis. I really feel dizzy, face my face.

The cemetery is a pristine, careful nurse, a polite young man with a shaved head and a plaid pants that knows the Hebrew word for an earthquake. His salaries are paid by Jewish communities here and overseas. In Morocco, the restoration of Jewish cemeteries has turn out to be a nationwide technique of displaying its pluralistic honest fides. Additionally they appeal to vacationers like us.

There have to be an older cemetery that was destroyed in a quake, Rafi informed me. "Part of this cemetery is now underground – who knows what they would find if they dig." He referred to the west on an empty boat: "There the Jews lived."

In Grandfather Agadir, a toddler can run over tightly positioned ceilings, one other city on mild ft. At some point, an Arab boy, greater than he, ran after him and Meir, 12, retired to the roofs. He had two options to win or bounce. He jumped at 6 or 7 meters. He had pains on his ft for every week.

Ordered for Agadir Jewish Quarter 1942, my grandfather Meir, his three sisters and his mother and father, Mimi and Mordecai, sleeping on the other aspect of his father's barber shop. When the Vichy French individuals sent every thing that the Moroccans grew up to abroad, Meir stored a pillowcase with him to take away meals: a quince that fell from the tree to the river; wild tomatoes; grasshoppers they might prepare dinner alive and eat with salt. It couldn't maintain her father alive.

When his mother started to see his father's spirit in camels, the household failed. "The people we knew told him to go to the rabbi tomb," my grandfather explained. The rabbi was rabbi David Ben-Baroukh, who died round 1785 and left a popularity for therapeutic incurable illnesses.

“So we organized: food for three or four days. Dried fruits, pasties, bread. Monday was a market day. It took 90 minutes for the bus to run. At 10.30 we started to walk for two hours. Do you know how I knew where to go? I didn't know where to go. They showed, I walked. It was September. It wasn't too hot. ”

Sand here, at the foot of the Atlantic mountains, glows orange. For two hours, he took his mom, trudi by means of a rocky desert, till they reached the rabbi on the grave of David Ben-Barroukh. First he placed on his shoulders, after which he took him on his again.

There was not much there: some unmarked graves, a rapping shed, an open sky. "We were sitting at the tomb and he prayed and shouted," my grandfather advised me. “Five or six hours. I didn't know what it would be. I waited for it to pass. “The guard pointed out the leak and said he could sleep there. They ate in candlelight.

Fifteen years before he arrived, a visitor to Rabbi Ben-Baroukh's grave called it unbeatable. “The cemetery is very disappointing. I thought I'd find a tall, high tomb, a beautiful building, like some Saints resting in the Fez Cemetery, ”complained Mathilde Bénozillo, whose husband ran for the Jewish Faculty of Taroudant in 1931. “I only found a small threshold made of some bricks. Not the slightest script that can reveal to the believer driver the great man's nobles.

Since then, Alliance Israélite Universelle, a French-Jewish organization, had opened schools throughout North Africa and the Mediterranean to "educate" Jews there. Bénozillo, a Jewish educated in Paris, also wrote his time in Taroudant: "I lost every time my thoughts live a painful and primitive life I lived in this remote city." ”As Rafi and George Ricketts described the Jews underneath Moroccan heaven. “They dressed in European clothing, refused to speak Arabic and even gave up their Jewish traditions. Worse still, this created a difference between the Jews and the Muslims and led to the latter's disapproval. “My grandfather, who married a German Palestinian woman whose mother was impressed by her knowledge of European classical music, came out of such a school in Agadir. He stood outside the French Church and began to hear about his liturgical music.

Rafi says that there are 322 tzadikimi buried in Morocco, but only 75 graves. Others are unknown. "There are 54 Jewish rabbis that the Arabs took from us," he said. “If you raise a green fabric, you will see Hebrew. The Berbers take their children to the Jewish tombs and say that the Jews are taking the evil eye. "

The Jews in the north of Morocco – megurashes or expelled – who arrived reluctantly when Spain expelled them in 1492 and never believed he says. My grandfather's name, Abihasera or Abehsera, or Israel, Avissara, marks him as one of those who have long settled in the southern desert and the Atlas Mountain Jews.

They are believed to have arrived in Morocco 2000 years ago and, according to travelers' accounts, inspired many of the indigenous peoples – probably you know them as Berber, but they call themselves Amazigh – mediate or transform into Judaism massively.

Rafi, who has been conducting interviews for years, and cemeteries where Jews lived and lived in Morocco, said he interviewed the breastfeeding of Jewish women. "When the Jews left, they cried," he says. They asked him when the Jews came back to the houses they left when they moved to Israel, France and Canada. "They said to me," Welcome back. I don't know why they left. I live in a Jewish house waiting for them to return. ””

“I don't think Moroccan Muslims hate Jews,” my mother volunteered.

I head over to Rafi. "What do you assume?"

"Properly," he says, "Not everyone seems to be them."

Let's zoom in on the green brush and paved roads with leaf green. We've heard of black goats climbing trees, but in February they don't see any reason, not when there's so much to eat. Some entrepreneurial people put white goats on the trees to attract visitors.

"In any case, white goats are extra photogenic," says Rafi – they offer more contrast. "All of the vacationers once they come, they provide them!"

When we arrive at Rabbi David Ben-Baroukh Shrine, a woman in turquoise djallabah opens up massive wooden doors. Thanks to the descendants of Rabbi, once in the wilderness of Tiilimäki, the whole complex has come, where the tomb is surrounded by bright limed accommodations. At an event where my grandfather once slept in a year, there is now a paved square with a huge silver medal with Hebrew characters. The place is still recovering from the hill of Rabbi David Ben-Baroukh, the solemn life of December on the day of death, which can get up to 1,500 people. You can stay here for $ 120 a weekend and ask the kosher butcher to slaughter the goats.

Hilloula includes hours of celebration and dancing and singing and praying when shekinah, the presence of God, returns to the rabbi grave and you can ask what you want.

I turn to Raf. "Are you asking for something?"

"I ask all the time," he answers the game. "However I can't."

We walk to a cemetery where people who were not able to save the rabbit's tomb from cholera and typhus are a whitewashed tomb, lime rectangular bed. In the middle is a marble pavilion with a shrine, now decorated with candy with colorful neoclassical decorations, which are the stars of David. The tombs of Rabbi and his equally descendant descendants are high at the waist, wrapped in pigeon gray and stacked with prayer books.

In 2000, when my mother came here with her four siblings and parents, they visited this tomb. "Once I touched it," he said as we drove here, "I felt an electronic vibration."

He puts a hand on the tomb. After the last visit, the velvet is covered with plastic, such as a couch, which is not meant to be too comfortable. "No," he declares helplessly. "I don't know anything." He blames the plastic.

I actually don't really feel anything besides sick. The truth is, nostalgia, with its roots in the phrases of residence entrance and pain, was first recognized as a illness. This was a illness that my grandmother had healed in the rabbi's grave. I virtually definitely have a leap, however it appears to me that I solely feel that I really feel this return in my body.

Right here my grandfather stated it happened once they awoke in the primary morning of the rabbi's grave. “My mother swept the sand and kept it in her hands. "These sand grains are devils," he explained. The next day was Tuesday. All day we sat in the tomb until the night. And again on Wednesday. The next bus was on the next market day on Thursday

”I ready my shoulders to carry him. We walked out of the cemetery. "Keep my hands," he stated. “I feel so light that the wind will blow me away.” He walked into the bus. ”

Mom and son passed the bus journey in silence. Once they stepped out of Agadir, they met a family who regretted the choice to ship the boy to his mad mom in the wilderness.

Everybody seems to be at Mimi. His eyes have been clear when he requested, "Who wants tea?"

Here my grandfather takes a paper plate off the table and turns it all of the sudden. "That's what it was," he says.

“He was normal until he died at the age of 90,” my grandfather adds. My sister and I referred to as her "Mama Mim". In Haifa, where he introduced him, he coated his head and coated his wall with the rabbis. Once we got here hand-rolled into a jerk, he broke the murder of my grandfather's Arabic language.

I might ask her if they ever spoke of what occurred if she requested her mother what she had gone by means of in the days that she slept in the desert of the rabbi's grave, which she remembered from that second on. grief and insanity, was it really the rabbi spirit that had healed him. She shakes her head. However why do I ask:

"There is nothing," he says. “My family is very practical. If it's a good result, then you move on. "

It has been months before I learned one reason that for hundreds of years Jewish-Moroccan people respected rabbis as saints. Not only because they did miracles, but because many of them had come from the Holy Land. Sent to the trawl Jewish enclave who had traveled over 2000 years along the Sahara caravan routes to the north coast, these shlichs raised money for the Yeshiva in Jerusalem and beyond. "Many died on the road," Aomar Boum writes in the memorials, "which leads to the creation of tombs and shrines in honor of rabbi ambassadors." The suspended pilgrimage is still sacred for its purpose. Thus the visit of the graves was like a visit to Jerusalem.

Boum is a black Muslim who has grown up in a southern dusk town that is not far from Taroudant. He says that the Jews in southern Morocco were especially on the basis of Zionism because they kept themselves daily from the Palestinian moment and lived daily among its symbols. Another way to say that Moroccan Jews already believed in miracles, magical thinking. Rafi and his colleague George Ricketts agree, although they have a more cynical interpretation. "Zionists relied on the historical messianic feelings of the rural classes," they write to the Jews under the Moroccan heaven, "so that they would have time to inherit the promised land." In Israel, they wrote to the Moroccan Jews about the cruel stinging of discrimination, and, according to many, they had never left a country where Jews and Arabs lived together happily.

My grandfather does not remember himself cheating. He remembers three robberies on the road to Israel.

The first drop came in 1948 when he was about 15 years old, he went to buy a newspaper and saw the Jews had occupied Jaffa. The boy his age, he tells me, saw her smile and asked, "Tu es satisfait De quoi?" Yes, I am satisfied, he replied, "Qu & # 39; est-ce que tu veux" What do you want, my grandfather began to rely on?

The second drop occurred two years later on the Moroccan-Algerian border, having spent two weeks hiring the laissez-passer to cross the Oujda border, which allowed his Jews to leave after the state of Israel. He reminded him of a pot that dropped him on the floor and 24 hours in jail for what turned out to be the wrong papers. relatives and wrote letters to illiterate workers to earn their home.

The third shot was in Casablanca So far he had begun driving a sardine truck between Agadir and Casablanca, a well-paid job. The secret network was still the only way for the Jews to leave. He heard from a travel agency in front of Mossad, led by Madame T. Every time he came to the travel agency to ask him by name, he was not told that such a woman worked there. Three in the morning she stood outside and looked at the officer going to the coffee and going to the second floor. On the fourth day, when the officer left, he went inside and went upstairs. There the woman sat. "Are you Madame T?" He asked. "I want to go to Palestine." Israel was a forbidden word

"You have the wrong address," he replied.

But then he was released. At the age of 17, he said he was too old for young aliyah and too young for the army. However, he could do agricultural training in France. He left Morocco, he replied. "Come back in a few days," he said. "I tell him to let you up."

When the day came, my grandfather put on his best suit, and Casablanca's full streets ran into his shoulder with his son at his age. "Sorry," my grandfather said, but the boy turned around and hit him hard on his face. Blood grabbed her dress. When it became clear that Meir was not fighting back, another boy became enraged and started shouting that the Jew had cursed Islam.

Luckily for him, another Muslim who was sitting close had experienced the whole encounter. He rose from his chair and hit the boy's face. "You are a liar!"

My grandfather did not clean his costume or face before he went to see Madame T. "Can you see why I have to leave Morocco?" He grinned.

He did. Here were her instructions: 16:00. he was supposed to go to the Place de France and go to the horse carriage. Transport took her to a bus full of boys and girls. The bus took her to a house surrounded by trees and an orchard. In the morning 2 they were woken up and taken to an abandoned port where they sail – initially smuggled under cover – up to Gibraltar. 10 months in Toulouse and one month in Marseille for agricultural education, he was on board in Israel.

His story he had to refuse the sirens, the women who were looking for protection and who bound him down. The family in which he lived in Casablanca had been trying to trick her into marrying her daughter so that her mother always looked at Agadir so she would be very pleased with her commitment. He was so furious that he walked on to him and to bed at the park bench until they let him into the promised land. Two weeks at Place de France. He still has a postcard on the bench. A woman from France who had asked for her protection; He told him that he would only get it under the conditions that were cold and obligatory terms that required him to keep his distance.

But he came to Israel again. “I became a child only in Israel again.”

The last Essaouira Jew harking back to working nicely in 47th Road Computer systems between 1979 and 1994. Throughout these years he lived in Rego Park. His identify is Joseph Sebag, and he has a e-book and an antique shop inside the walls of the previous town of Essaouira, which the Portuguese and my grandfather knew as Mogador, where my grandparents got here before they moved to Agadir. Sebag is spoken softly with a shaved head and black edges. She smiles very weakly. He says he is Parkinson's, hypertension, diabetes. He goes to Toulouse for remedy. The shop has naked beams and incense; its written stock consists of Danielle Steele, V.C. Andrews Paper Books. "Bric a Brac," he says. “We don't make a lot of money, but it's OK. I did some business on Facebook with people I never saw. ”

Simply around the nook is the fragrant Atlantic harbor that’s still restless. When the caravan routes to the Sahara have been on their strategy to the maritime empires, the Jews went. These toshavim had spent centuries in the Atlas Mountain enclave, between the blur of the Jew and the Berber. Haim Malka, Mimi's father and grandfather, got here from the village of Telouet, controlled by the warlord of Essaouira, and infrequently typically received snow.

The grandparents' home, Malkan's home, to which Mimi returned to offer start to all six of her youngsters, where my grandfather was born. But mella, actually salt, but in Morocco, the previous Jewish quarter, is in ruins. Half have been demolished, house now for cats that feed the debris, just some misleading David stars and raised alley bridges that show what was once there. "It's a tragedy," Joseph says. When the Jews went massively to Israel, he provides: “They didn't care about the qualities. And for two houses one came to 17. "

He does not say what he told Al Jazeer in a document that was widely mentioned in Morocco: his cousins ​​of Israel who came to visit and weep in the eyes of the harbor. and cemetery. "When I asked what was wrong," Sebag says in a documentary film, "He said he didn't understand how his parents could leave this wonderful city in the tent in Israel."

André Azoulay, the Jewish king of the king, who Rafi says, will soon oversee the return of this hometown, his home, carefully selecting his words in the document. “The reason is shared. The French protectorate created the Chamber. The Jewish community experienced the French colonization differently from the Muslim community. The Jews were better treated, he says. “The Middle East wars also made the Jews uncomfortable in Morocco. This created an opportunity for Israel to facilitate a large number of Moroccan Jews from landing in Israel. "This documentary, according to Aomar Boum, was widely disseminated in Morocco as proof that their country had been friendly to the Jews who had deceived them

A 90-year-old Moroccan rural man quotes a proverb to Boum that without Jewish shouk there is no bread without salt:" Jews outside Morocco, the market lost its salt. “Essaouira has literally lost its salt, its Mellah. Nuorempien ihmisten keskuudessa on vähemmän kaipauksia Boumin haastattelut, joita hän kirjoittaa, mieluummin "protestoivat, vangitsevat, demonisoivat ja vastustavat israelilaisia ​​ja juutalaisia ​​yleensä, joita he pitävät poliittisina ja sosiaalisina vihollisina."

Joseph Sebag hankki Yhdysvaltain passin, mutta hän mieluummin Essaouiraa. Miksi hän tuli takaisin? ”Olen tehnyt valinnan”, hän sanoo, hieman väsyneenä. ”Olen tyytyväinen siihen. Tämä on minun kotini. ”Päästäkseen hän sanoo:” En välttämättä puhu politiikkaa. ”Hän taputtaa käden Rafin olkapäähän. ”Minä olen vähemmistön enemmistö,” hän sanoo.

”Soitetaanko sinut juutalaiseksi?” Kysyn.

”Olen ylpeä siitä, että kutsun juutalaiseksi”, hän sanoo tasaisesti. "Mutta useammin he kutsuvat minua Yusefiksi."

Kun lähdemme, Rafi huutaa: "Toujours a WhatsApp!"

Äitini tekstit hänen isänsä valokuvista murenevista rakennuksista, mutta mikään näistä ei ole oikea. Joten lopetamme syödä. Muutaman askeleen päässä Joosefin varastosta miehet, jotka myyvät sardiinia, osaavat sanoa "al ha'esh." Poimimme juuri pyydetyt sardiinit ja muutamat merisiilit, jotka jakavat ristiin, jotta voimme syödä raakaa. Rafi ottaa paperilevyn ja tuottaa tonnikalan tölkin, jonka hän tyhjenee lautaselle lounaansa varten. "Syön vain tämän ja gefilte-kalan", hän selittää.

Läpinäkyvyydestäni näen tyhjänpuolisen nuoren miehen, joka on juonut meidät, kun olemme tulleet Essaouiraan. Hänellä on aseistettu khaki ja aurinkolasit. Rafi kysyi häneltä tarkasti, mistä hän ei tarvinnut. ”Salainen poliisi”, sanoo Rafi miellyttävästi. “We don’t need it, but it is well-intentioned.” It’s not clear, regardless of how many questions I ask Rafi, whether or not that is meant for the Jewish tourists’ protection or to guard the country from us. As we eat, the secret policeman tosses breadcrumbs into the water to feed the fish.

Rafi chews contemplatively. “Do you think Joseph is a happy man?” he asks us. “He is not a happy man. I would not want to be the last Jew.” My head is pounding and my eyes are clouding. “I am proud to be a Jew in this Arab country. Everybody knows Rafi,” he says. “I feel comfortable.” Then he pauses. “But always, in my mind, I have one foot somewhere else.”

By now my throat is closing up. Another solution to comply with in my grandfather’s footsteps. Anxious to not overlook something, I frantically write in my notebook words that don’t really make sense. I’m going off in search of drugs, after which, rest. As I droop, feverish, in Rafi’s automotive, my mother goes on one last pacing around what’s left of the mellah.

In my delirium, I’m wondering what the purpose of all of it has been. Would the rocks tell us whether or not their vanished residents’ lives have been extra pleasure than pain, whether or not they felt at house in this nation, properly treated by their neighbors, or have been just ready it out to be restored to the Holy Land? If they might, would the ancestors marvel how it was that my grandfather made it out, built a country, just for us to go away, just for me to long to know this place he abandoned?

My mom bustles into the Citroen. “Found it,” she says triumphantly. Her great-grandparents’ house, a place we got here from that may soon see another bulldozer. In the long run, for all I needed to go back, I never laid eyes on it. ■

Irin Carmon is a senior correspondent at New York journal and co-author of The Life and Occasions of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Her Twitter feed is @irin.