Dr. David Bitton, Head of Ono Academic College’s Department of Multicultural Judaism organized the world’s first conference in memory of Rabbi Yosef Mashash. The conference focused on Rabbi Mashash’s Halachic (Jewish Law) work and historical thought.
Dr. Bitton told interviewer Rino Tzror, on Army Radio’s Galei Tzahal network, that this was not only the first conference dedicated to the work of Rabbi Mashash. It is one of the first conferences ever to focus on any Moroccan Jewish spiritual leader. He noted that Mashash’s work has much to say to contemporary Israeli society.
Rabbi Mashash was born in Morocco in 1892 but spent 17 of his most productive years working prodigiously as a Halachic scholar in Algeria before returning to Morocco in 1940. Rabbi Mashash moved to Israel in 1963.
In the interview, Bitton explained how he came across the work of Rabbi Mashash for the first time while studying at university. In response to a question by Tzror, Dr. Bitton explained Rabbi Mashash’s lenient and controversial realistic ruling regarding the Halachic requirement of women covering their hair.
Initially, 500 people were registered to attend the conference. Unfortunately, due to COVID 19, the conference was forced to move to Zoom. Even so, several hundred participants attended. The lectures and discussions broke new ground on scholarship about Rabbi Mashash.
In a related interview, Ono lecturer Dr. Michal Ohana spoke on the Café Gibraltar program broadcast on the Kan Culture radio network about Rabbi Mashash and the conference dedicated to his memory.