TZADDIK TOMB

The tzaddik is Rabbi Shlomo ben Hensh, dead 500 years but still revered like a saint. El fassie has devoted the last 24 years of his life to guarding the tzaddik's tomb.
These days, Israeli, American and Western European tourist visit El fassie and his tzaddik to ask for blessings.
But the spirit of the tzaddik has survived many crises during his five centuries interred in the Ourika Valley.
Most members of the Moroccan Berber tribes are Muslim today. However, some North African Berbers, like El fassie's ancestors, were Jewish before Arab conquerors arrived here more than 1,300 years ago.

Like their Muslim counterparts, who revere each departed holy man, Jewish Berbers always made the commemoration of tzaddiks a cornerstone of their religious life.
Today, commemoration is not merely life's cornerstone for Elfassie -- it is life.
Fifty years ago, he says, Ourika had 300 Jewish families, two synagogues, Jewish schools, rabbis to perform circumcisions, bar mitzvahs and weddings, and plenty of kosher food and matzah.