75 year- old Alica Shapira recently visited Bristol from Israel and was invited to visit the studios of Radio Salaam Shalom. In this ‘enhanced’ interview, listen as she tells us about life in Casablanca in the late thirties and forties through the eyes of a Jewish child.
Alica Shapira’s story portrays the ties of Muslim and Jewish culture reflected through custom, music, food and other aspects of daily life.
In Casablanca Alica Edri (her maiden name) lived a life of poverty whithin the walls of the Medina. She, her mother and father, brothers and sisters occupied one damp, dark room. Money was scarce and food was in short supply. At the age of six Alica began working to bring money home, but later conditions improved when she was employed as a live-in seamestress. In her new settings she spoke French, learnt a new trade, made new friends, and discovered the world of cinema… In 1951 she immigrated to Israel to begin her new life as an Israeli citizen. For the last 58 years, as a member of 3 different Kibbutzim in Israel, in a world apart from everything she new in Morocco, Alice never forgot her roots. These days, the Jewish Moroccan community is of a momentous significance in the Israeli society, but in the early 50’s in a Kibbutz in Israel, Alica found herself to be one of the only “sephardi” (Eastern Jew) in an Ashkenazi (European Jew) community. Brought up in an Arab culture until she was sixteen Alica was to discover that her “ways” were quite different from those of the other members of the kibbutz who predominantly originated from Europe. With the years, Alica integrated well into her new environment, but images of the streets of her childhood in Casablanca have never left her….