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Opposite the Torah Ark is a raised alcove, separated from the main prayer space by a wooden screen elaborately carved with a series of arches.

It was intended as a seating area for the congregations more distinguished members.

To begin, I want to say the thing some people will hate to admit: Moroccans date.

Whether religiously they or others believe it is right or wrong, it exists in Morocco just like anywhere else in the world.

They assume as an American I’ve dated so they would ask me questions about it but knowing its considered inappropriate in Morocco, I’d keep their secrets and give general advice but I avoided giving specifics like “How many boyfriends have you had? ” Another reason I didn’t really engage in discussing dating in the villages I lived in was another cultural tidbit you might not know about.

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The best way I can put it is that there’s a kind of “don’t ask, don’t tell” mentality. In my own experience, I only became aware of teenagers crushing on each other from my pseudo-village confidante position being the only American in the village.

I was simply introduced as “Brenda” and we actually never expressed we were dating or exclusive.

Actually we didn’t openly express to the family we were a couple until we had a group discussion about us deciding to file a fiancé visa in other to move forward with our future.

On the flip side, dating in the major cities is easier to nod into the seen and “not see .” Living in Marrakech, I was able to meet and befriend 20-something year old Moroccans, both guys and girls who dated other Moroccans or foreigners. Personally I know some people whose families are more comfortable with their young adult children bringing their “best friend” home.

They go out to eat in the Medina, they go clubbing, they study together at university, they hang out at festivals and other public places…they just don’t bring their current significant other home to hang with the parental units. A variety of reasons for this come to mind: embarrassment about dating and/or who they’re dating, having super traditional or religious parents, and dating a foreigner or non-Muslim or non-Jew (don’t forget there are Moroccans Jews too! This is also visible for mixed couples like myself and my significant other.

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