Go Back  Fodor's Forum > Destinations > Africa & the Middle East
Reload this Page > Scam – Ali’s Art Gallery, Fes Medina, Morocco – Jewish Berber Mezuzah.
Notices

Scam – Ali’s Art Gallery, Fes Medina, Morocco – Jewish Berber Mezuzah.

Reply

Aug 17th, 2011, 06:36 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 5
Scam – Ali’s Art Gallery, Fes Medina, Morocco – Jewish Berber Mezuzah.

Ali’s Art Gallery, 17, Souiket Dahbane, Sagha Fes Medina, runs a scam on alleged Jewish artifacts – and we would assume on all the items in the gallery. Beware.

Ali’s Art Gallery, 17, Souiket Dahbane, Sagha Fes Medina, is different from the average medina stall. It is in a large house in the medina and appears to only contain high quality Moroccan artifacts and works of art. We were taken there by our licensed guide. We were introduced to the guide’s friend, allegedly the gallery owner’s son. He spoke excellent English and explained that this was a family business of many years and told us something of the house’s history. We were then steered toward a room that allegedly contained Judaic artifacts (he obviously knew that we were Jewish). In a very low-keyed manner he provided us with interesting information about several of the pieces. He told us a most interesting story. Jews as you may know are directed to place mezuzahs on their doorposts. Allegedly, there was a Berber-Jewish tribe that since they were nomadic had no doorposts so they wore the mezuzahs around their necks and around the necks of their camels. Intriguing story.

We looked at some of the alleged mezuzahs and asked the price for one of them. The artifact was weighed and a price given. When asked if this was the best price we were told that there was no bargaining in the gallery and that the works of art were all fairly priced. Again all very low keyed. When pressed about the story of the Berber Jews and their mezuzahs, the gallery sales person insisted that the artifacts were indeed old personal Berber mezuzahs and that there were prayers sealed inside. In fact, he stated that he would provide a bill of sale detailing the providence of the artifacts, again all low keyed in almost a disinterested manner.

The truthof the matter is that it was all a well-acted scam. Although there were Jewish Berbers, the artifacts were common pieces found all over the medina and there never were personal or camel mezuzahs.

During our travels in Morocco we related the incident to several well-regarded dealers in Moroccan artifacts. All confirmed that that the items were nothing more than common “gridgris” and that there were never mezuzahs as described in Ali’s.
nbeinhac is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 19th, 2011, 05:11 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
So, add Ali's Art Gallery's name to the list of 3,675,811 shops in the world that sell fake art, crafts, or artifacts.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 19th, 2011, 06:09 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 813
I know I'm going to get the heat for this but... I am constantly amazed by a lot of people's suspension of disbelief that seems to kick in so easily.

We are western people, they are eastern people. Do I need to point out how much we like each other, on average??

In Zanzibar streets, I saw a lot of people buying "authentic" crap (sorry, really no better word), while in the little side-streets, the boxes with "made in China" on them were piled up. But not ONE of those shoppers seemed to (want to) notice.

B.regs,

J.
pixelpower is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 19th, 2011, 07:19 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
Nothing new here.
As they say "buyer be aware"

Must admit though that story of placing the mezzuza around the camel's neck is quite creative.
sandi is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 23rd, 2011, 09:01 AM
  #5
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 1
hello to every body...I am the respponssible in Ali's Art Gallery fes/Morocco and I was so surprised to read this article about our gallery in the internet on this web site for one and unique reason which is the good reputation and honesty we followed with our guests through out several years ago...I ve made my investigations about this matter and I discovered that this issue in discussions "the jewish berber mezzuza" reffers to about two months when I was in vacation when this lady who bought this berber jewish silver old mezzuza for an amount of 1500 moroccan dirhams that is the equivalent of about 180 us dollars, for more details about this mezzuza it's about 25 gramms of pure silver and old,visited our gallery and purchased this mezzuza to be surprised after one week that this lady returned us the mezzuza through out her travel agency and get remburssed back of the total of the money with out any explanations of the reason of that...while, now I am verry happy that she wrote that so as to know at least why...the " why " of you madam has nothing to do with the reality because of many reasons :
1* the jewish berbers existed unlike you are saying and they were jipsy people in the Atlass mountains since 2 B.C and we are so proud as Moroccans of the jewish berber component of our moroccan identity...than, if you are not good in history a quick clck in google about the jewish berbers can make you learn more about them...you can also check several books such as "2000 ans de vie juif au maroc" by his writter Haim zafrani so as to learn about them...
2*since the jewish berbers were jipsy people with no houses just tents and no doors where to hang the mezzuza and that's why they hung it on them as pendant or they do it in necklessousses and you can go also to google to click for images on berber jewish jewelery to see several old berber jewish necklessousses with mezzuza on them..
3*you've said that the guide is a friend of the person who sold you the mezzuza...isn't it shamefull to say that...is this a sin??? imagine a famous art gallery in a city where all the tourists who comes to fes asks about and all the guides are obliged to bring there tourists to our gallery to show them high quality items and we are working with those guides each day,how it comes that we will not have with them a mutual friend ship????should we be ennemies with them dear madam???
4* you ve said that this is our view as eaterns to you as westerns...first of all morocco is a country known by its far history where judaism has been the first religion and after we ve had christianity with the coming of the romans and after that we had islam with the coming of the arabs...morocco is a country where any religion or ethnicity is respected and when the governement of Vichy asked from mohamed the fifth the list of the moroccan jews he replied with no "if you want the list of all the moroccans I will give it to you but i haven't a jewish moroccan or a christian moroccan or a muslim moroccan...I have the moroccan citizen and I am the king of all the moroccans"...more over you should know that morocco has been the first country in the world to recognize the U.S.A independent out of the british crown and each year our moroccan post office make a stamp celebrating this far friend ship between morocco and usa...
dear madam, as moroccans , we are people who love their country and love the human race what ever its colour or relegion or ethnicity and we can't sheet any one than this is our prinviple in our gallery " ALI'S ART GALLERY"...so please the next time before suspecting any one with some thing try at least to be sure of what you are saying...with my best wishes and that all happiness be yours.
jellounben is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 23rd, 2011, 09:49 AM
  #6
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
Thank you for your comments/clarification and that the client actually returned the item and was reimbursed.

Your references to Morocco, the Berbers and the Jews (and a mezzuzah around the neck of an individual makes sense as many Jews who do live in houses these days, also wear them around their necks) of the time is quite interesting.
sandi is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 23rd, 2011, 01:14 PM
  #7
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 12,269
This appears to be a classic "grudge" post

Apparently OP got a full refund and still defames.

Very sad.
qwovadis is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 26th, 2011, 07:19 AM
  #8
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 1,239
Hanging a mezzuzah round a camel's neck? Do you have to kiss the camel before getting on it?
Lifeman is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 26th, 2011, 07:39 AM
  #9
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
... not a good idea; camels spit (besides the smell OMG).
camels are not a pet!
sandi is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 04:38 AM.