13 August 2009

Morocco, Brazil: Making the connection

[NOTE: Brazil is the English spelling, Brasil is the Portuguese spelling.]

Chris Silver writes the Jewish Morocco blog, and he just experienced one of those serendipitous connections that could only be accomplished with technology making the world much smaller.

Nearly a year ago Silver wrote about the Jewish cemetery in Asilah, and mentioned two tombs he saw. One was that of Levy Roif who died in 1926 at the ripe old age of 110. Tracing the Tribe wrote about his visit to Asilah, so Chris let me know today about this new exciting development.

Last week, Chris received an email from Rinaldo in Brazil. It was a surprise that only the Internet could have enabled. Rinaldo is the great-great-grandson of Levy Roif and lives in Belem in northern Brazil.

Read Chris' story of this new connection here.

Rinaldo wrote:
It was quite a wonderful surprise to read about the location of the tomb of Levi Roif. He was my great-great-grandfather. His son Abraham Roffe, or Roif, emigrated with his family in the late XIXs [19th century] to the city of Belem, in northern Brazil where he died in 1931 and was one of the leaders of the local Jewish Sephardic Community. My grandmother, Miriam Roffe Athias commented about her grandfather Levi Roif whom she knew personally, lived almost 110 years old, and was buried in Asilah.
Rinaldo continued:
In the late XIX’s [19th century] and early XX’s [20th century] there was a massive migration of Moroccan Jews to the Amazon region during the rubber boom, they came from the cities of Tangier, Tetouan, Larache, Rabat and Asilah. The three sons of Levy Roif moved in the wake of that migration and settled in the city of Belém where there is a Synagogue since 1848. Around 300 Jewish Sephardic families still live there. The eldest son, Abraham Roffe, my great-grandfather came with wife and younger children. His eldest daughter, Miriam Roffe my grandmother, stayed in Azilah for a few years more, living with her grandparents Levy Roif an Honoria (The same name of my mother); she died in Belém in 1956.
Rinaldo sent Chris the only known photo in existence of Levy Roif, taken in Asilah, as well as one of the extended family in Brazil in 1922.

Read Chris's complete post at the link above and view the great photographs sent by Rinaldo and other photos Chris took on his 2008 visit.

Connections are made every day!

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