AZEMMOUR, city on the Atlantic coast of Morocco. In the 15th century Azemmour was a free city with 20,000 inhabitants, of whom 2,500 were Jews, mainly occupied as fishermen and craftsmen, and including wealthy merchants. Exiles from Portugal in 1496 found refuge there. It was subsequently raided by the Spanish, but the Jews were afforded protection by the Portuguese, who occupied Azemmour in 1513 without bloodshed. A grant of privileges was conferred on the Jews on June 14, 1514, which also fixed their annual tax payment. Joseph Adibe was appointed rabbi of Azemmour and invested with wide powers (c. 1512). The community flourished and prominent members included the families of Adibe, *Roti, Valensi, Buros, Rodrigues, and Cordilha. Numerous *Marranos were welcomed in Azemmour and enabled to go to the interior where they could return to the Jewish faith. The community supported financially and diplomatically the pretensions of David Ha-*Reuveni when he arrived in Portugal in 1525. Azemmour was captured by the Moors in 1541; during the siege John III ordered the evacuation of all Jewish non-combatants to Arzila, and compensated them for the losses they had incurred. A community was reestablished in 1780. Most of the more wealthy members immigrated to Mazagan c. 1820, after the sultan ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn Hishām permitted Jews to trade there. Only the Jewish craftsmen remained in Azemmour, which continued to have a Jewish population until the emigration from Morocco after 1948. In 1968 there were no Jewish inhabitants in the town.
D. Corcos, in: Sefunot, 10 (1966), 63–69; Villes et tribus du Maroc, 2 (1932), 34, 40–48, 51–53, 56, 64; Hirschberg, Afrikah, 1 (1965), 311–3, 332; A. Baião, Inquisição em Portugal (1921), 128 and passim.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.