Ester Malka

[00:00:04] Interviewer: I will be asking questions based on the questionnaire. They are questions they ask everyone. After those questions we might want to add something about Morocco, your childhood or something that is important to you and that you want to talk about. When people do the interview they answer questions and might be a bit emotional when talking about a particular thing. [00:00:41] We can never know ahead of time if it will be emotional because memories creep up as we move forward. Some things that have remained hidden resurface but it is not an interrogation. Our goal is for you to tell us stories you want to tell, that your family members might be surprised to hear. It is a testimony on what kind of life you lived and what you left behind. [00:01:26] Both my parents did the interview and my father was very emotional because he has a difficult life story that involved the loss of people he loved. My mother, on the other hand, focused on their departure from Algeria. It comes down to what you are comfortable with during the interview. You can talk about the things you care about or stories that will describe the cuisine for example. [technical question]

[00:03:00] Interviewer: Hello Ester, what is your full name?

[00:03:03] Ester Malka: Ester Malka. 

[00:03:05] Interviewer: And what is your birth name? 

[00:03:07] Ester Malka: The same, Ester Malka. 

[00:03:09] Interviewer: Alright. And what is your birthdate? 

[00:03:11] Ester Malka: July 17, '45. 

[00:03:14] Interviewer: Perfect. What city were you born in?

[00:03:17] Ester Malka: Meknes...Meknes, Morocco.

[00:03:21] Interviewer: Thank you for agreeing to participate in the Sephardi Voices Project. My first question is: What is your family background? Do you want to talk about anything about your family and the reason why you agreed to do this interview?

[00:03:42] Ester Malka: Not really. I don't have anything, like you said, that is emotional. I lived a good life in Morocco, a very good life. There were a few times when we were scared but everything got complicated after the Six-Day War. The family wanted to leave but I could not leave with my parents. That was difficult for me. I had just had my first child so I found it very difficult. [00:04:19] Other than that, at first it was very nice. My grandparents lived very well in Morocco. They were from Fez. That is what bothered me the most, having to leave my parents. 

[00:04:38] Interviewer: We're going to move to the questionnaire and will talk about your grandparents. Do you have anything in particular to say about your grandparents? Do you have any memories or stories you would like to share? It can be about their birthplace or their marriage [overlap]. Were they religious people? Try to describe you grandparents a bit. 

[00:05:05] Ester Malka: As far as religious goes, they were religious. I did not really know my grandmother. I was very young but I remember she was very sick. She was in a bed and every time, I would tell my mother, "Why can't I go see her?" and she would tell me, "No, no, it's better if you stay at home. You are too young for that." [00:05:31] One day I happened to go with my two brothers, I followed them to go see my grandmother because they told us she was very sick and, as it turned out, she had passed away that day. When I left my mother told my brother, "Bring Ester home, I don't want her to see that." So I understood I would not see my grandmother again. I was very young. So we ended up staying with my grandfather and he was a wonderful man. [00:06:05] He spoiled us quite a bit. He was always with us. He spent Shabbat with us. I have good memories of my grandfather. He was a wonderful grandfather. 

[00:06:19] Interviewer: Can you give me your maternal grandparent’s full names? 

[00:06:24] Ester Malka: Maternal? 

[00:06:26] Interviewer: It was paternal?

[00:06:27] Ester Malka: Yes, paternal. Her name was Rifka Asran [sp?] and he was called Jacquez Izhak Malka. 

[00:06:40] Interviewer: Malka. And on your mothers side? 

[00:06:44] Ester Malka: So it was Solhi Amsili [sp?] and my mother never knew her father. She did not know him. I know his name was Maxime but that's it. Amsili. She didn't know him at all. The four children were very young and they didn't know their father. Most of them didn't know their father. 

[00:07:11] Man: He died? 

[00:07:12] Ester Malka: Yes. They were very, very young. 

[00:07:16] Interviewer: So you never knew your maternal grandfather but your maternal grandmother lived with you in Meknes?

[00:07:26] Ester Malka: In Meknes yes, he lived with us until people started flocking to Israel. She was one of the very first; she left with her son because she went to live with him when he got married. 

[00:07:42] Interviewer: When exactly did she go to Israel? 

[00:07:45] Ester Malka: One of the first, in '48 I believe, something like that. 

[00:07:51] Interviewer: So you did not know your grandmother...

[00:07:53] Ester Malka: No, I did know my grandmother.

[00:07:55] Interviewer: Maternal..

[00:07:55] Ester Malka: Yes, I knew her. Not for very long but afterward I would see her when I went to visit in Israel. I would go see her often. 

[00:08:04] Interviewer: Starting in 1948 you have family in Israel. 

[00:08:06] Ester Malka: Oh yes, they were among the first to leave. It was my aunt and my grandmother. 

[00:08:16] Interviewer: Your paternal grandparents...when your grandmother died, did your grandfather go to France with you? 

[00:08:31] Ester Malka: No, my grandfather passed away in Morocco. Right before my wedding. 

[00:08:38] Interviewer: Very good. Let's now talk about your parents. Can you tell me your parents' names? 

[00:08:49] Ester Malka: Yes, David Malka and Simi Amsili. 

[00:08:54] Interviewer: Okay. How did your parents meet?

[00:08:58] Ester Malka: My mother told me she was with someone else from Fez and she was with friends. They were singing and my father walked and thought "Oh what a beautiful voice. Who is singing?" and it was my mother. That's is how they met. My mother was not interested in my father because he was a butcher, he was dirty. He told her, .You know, I'm not always this dirty. This is my job." [00:09:33] At first she didn't want him because he was a butcher but afterward things went well. 

[00:09:41] Interviewer: He met her all cleaned up and it was okay. And how long after did they get married? 

[00:09:46] Ester Malka: Immediately after. They were not engaged very long. 

[00:09:50] Interviewer: How long is that? 

[00:09:51] Ester Malka: She told me after a few months they wanted to get married and they had many children. 

[00:09:58] Interviewer: And they got married in...

[00:09:59] Ester Malka: In Meknes. 

[00:10:01] Interviewer: Was it a big wedding?

[00:10:02] Ester Malka: She told me it was, the weddings were big wedding, they lasted all week. She told me they were extraordinary weddings. There was this night and that night, every night there was an event. It lasted all eight days. That's how weddings were in Morocco.  

[00:10:25] Interviewer: It was relatively rare for people to get married without having been introduced and just because he heard her sing. 

[00:10:32] Ester Malka: Yes, he heard her sing, she was with her friends, he heard her sing and she said, "Oh what a wonderful voice. Who is singing?" 

[00:10:41] Interviewer: But was it in a café?

[00:10:43] Ester Malka: No, no, just in the street. 

[00:10:45] Interviewer: In the street.

[00:10:45] Ester Malka: In an an alleyway. The friends always met in the, on the main avenue and for Shabbat the girls would get together and they would chat and have fun. They would tell each other stories and sing. He heard the voice and that's how he met my mother. 

[00:11:07] Interviewer: Did he go ask for her hand? Or was it through your grandfather? 

[00:11:11] Ester Malka: Obviously he asked my grandfather for her hand. No more than three months later, they were married.

[00:11:22] Interviewer: Did the family come from afar for the wedding?

[00:11:24] Ester Malka: Ah yes. [overlap] 

[00:11:26] Interviewer: Was it a big wedding? 

[00:11:27] Ester Malka: It was big wedding because there was still family in Morocco at that time. Her sisters were there, the aunts, cousins so they were always big weddings. Friends, neighbours, they were always big weddings. Not like today's weddings, it was different but they were good weddings. 

[00:11:49] Interviewer: How would you describe those weddings? 

[00:11:52] Ester Malka: I would say everything was in big homes. They always tried to move the furniture out and make big tables so everyone could sit. [overlap] Hot meals and al the neighbours came to help. Everyone did something. One would make was the day - for example, on one day a number of people, friends and neighbours, would come make deserts. [00:12:25] Another day, the day of the wedding, was reserved for meats and things. After the wedding was we had the Fish evening. After that, it was the gift evening which meant if you bought a gift for the bride you would come over to have dinner. They would bring their present, one would bring this kind of set and another would bring another kind of set. They would write, like when we receive gift cards, we would put all the names and how much - and that's how it was. [00:13:03] It was really something. 

[00:13:06] Interviewer: Were there any issues with the meat? It must have been confusing. 

[00:13:11] Ester Malka: Exactly. And my mother hated meat to top it off. We were spoiled but my mother never liked meat very much. 

[00:13:23] Interviewer: There was no catering, everything was made. Were there musicians?

[00:13:28] Ester Malka: Oh yes. I think there were musicians all week. It was very welcoming, it was beautiful. 

[00:13:36] Interviewer: Alright. Your father was a butcher. 

[00:13:45] Ester Malka: Yes. 

[00:13:45] Interviewer: He worked, was it a small butcher shop? Was he alone or did he work with other people?

[00:13:51] Ester Malka: He was with a number of people but he was the one who went with the Rabbi to make sure the animal was not ill. [overlap] And when they cut the throat he was the one who did it. 

[00:14:07] Interviewer: Oh, okay. 

[00:14:08] Ester Malka: He had, my father worked very, very, very, very hard. He worked hard his entire life, very hard. On Sundays, rather than resting, we would go to the stables with him to see cows and steer. We would feed them. We would take buckets of beans to give them to eat. For us it was a kind of outing and it was work for him. Other than Saturdays, he never rested. 

[00:14:45] Interviewer: Only on Shabbat. 

[00:14:46] Ester Malka: He would only rest on Shabbat. Fridays at noon [inaudible]. He would come home tired. 

[00:14:54] Interviewer: Tired. and then the family prepared for Shabbat with...

[00:14:57] Ester Malka: With my mother. We helped my mother a lot. My sisters and I helped my mother a lot. 

[00:15:04] Interviewer: Were there many of you? Did anyone else from the family come? 

[00:15:08] Ester Malka: Yes, my aunt would come with her husband just for the aperitif. They always had the aperitif..

[00:15:17] Man: Saturday's. 

[00:15:17] Ester Malka: Saturdays after the synagogue they came for the aperitif. Sometimes they came to eat with us, we would spend Shabbat together, we had family over, we would go to their house. 

[00:15:28] Interviewer: You have family from your father's side over? Or was it just your mother's side? 

[00:15:33] Ester Malka: No, both. Both. 

[00:15:35] Interviewer: Everyone lived nearby. 

[00:15:36] Ester Malka: Yes, everyone lived nearby. My father only had one sister in Morocco, whom he loved very much. Another one I did not know had left. I'm told she adored me when I was a baby. She was one of the very first to leave. I don't know what date she left for Israel. 

[00:15:57] Interviewer: To Israel as well?

[00:15:57] Ester Malka: One of the very first to leave. I got to know her when I went to Israel myself. I was already married with two children. That is when I got to know my father's sister. 

[00:16:14] Interviewer: So your family was religious. you went to the synagogue Friday nights and Saturday morning?

[00:16:21] Ester Malka: Saturday morning yes, we always went to synagogue. We were practicing. We did nothing during Shabbat. Shabbat was a time to rest. 

[00:16:30] Interviewer: It was rest until Saturday evening and did you go out on Saturday night in Meknes?

[00:16:37] Ester Malka: When I was very little I don't remember going out but once I was ten or twelve years old we would plan to see our friends in the neighbourhood. [overlap] In the same neighbourhood. 

[00:16:52] Interviewer: Did the whole family live in the same area?

[00:16:54] Ester Malka: [overlap] Right next door. 

[00:16:55] Interviewer: What was it called? Was it a Jewish neighbourhood? 

[00:16:56] Ester Malka: It was, it wasn't far. Nothing was far. One alleyway behind the next - within five minutes we were at our grandmother's, within five minutes I was at my father's butcher shop and bringing my grandfather the lunch my mother had prepared for him. Everyday at lunchtime I would come home from school and the first thing she did was give me some food to bring to my grandfather. My father came home after. He did not want to eat at the store. When he was done he would come home to eat. 

[00:17:28] Interviewer: So your mother was always a stay-at-home mother?

[00:17:31] Ester Malka: Ah yes. My mother worked a lot. She worked a lot. 

[00:17:36] Interviewer: How many siblings were you? 

[00:17:38] Ester Malka: We were seven and seven. Seven brothers and seven sisters. 

[00:17:42] Interviewer: Fourteen. So it was a full time job. 

[00:17:47] Ester Malka: Full time. We had fresh bread everyday. As soon as we arrived from school there was always something: mofletta, crepes or something else for lunch. My mother worked a lot. 

[00:18:05] Interviewer: She made everything at home. 

[00:18:06] Ester Malka: Absolutely everything was homemade. She bought nothing. Cakes, everything. 

[00:18:12] Interviewer: So she cooked a lot every day. 

[00:18:14] Ester Malka: Every day. Every day she made fresh food for lunch and dinner. 

[00:18:19] Interviewer: You came home from school, there was no cafeteria, so you went home for lunch. 

[00:18:24] Ester Malka: There was a cafeteria for some but for...the ones who couldn't afford lunch had the cafeteria. 

[00:18:32] Interviewer: Ah ok. 

[00:18:34] Ester Malka: I worked at the cafeteria while I was a student at the school. I worked with Mr. Cohen for two years. There were long tables and people came...

[00:18:46] Man: Volunteered, not worked. 

[00:18:47] Ester Malka: Volunteered, well, yes, volunteered. Mr. Cohen’s students were in charge of making sure the children were eating and that they had gotten enough. Everyone had a large table and we took care of the children eating. They were people whose parents did not have the means. [00:19:13] I remember that twice per year we would tell them to bring pillowcases and the Americans would send us sugar, flour and rice. We would give them some for the family. 

[00:19:28] Interviewer: You were all at the Jewish school?

[00:19:30] Ester Malka: I was at the Alliance.

[00:19:33] Interviewer: When you were a child, in primary school...

[00:19:36] Ester Malka: At the Alliance. It was all at the Alliance. 

[00:19:37] Interviewer: At the Alliance Juive. 

[00:19:38] Ester Malka: Yes, at the Alliance. 

[00:19:40] Interviewer: And Mr. Cohen was someone, was the man from the Jewish Agency? 

[00:19:43] Ester Malka: No, he was a teacher and at the same time he was in charge of...

[00:19:54] Man: [inaudible] 

[00:19:55] Ester Malka: The jant [?] Is that what it was called?

[00:19:58] Man: They were the ones who distributed money and food in schools. 

[00:20:05] Ester Malka: It was called the [jerante]. Apparently it was from America, from the United States, to help people who did not have the means. Twice per year we..

[00:20:14] Interviewer: So it was an American Jewish association that sent it or simply an American association?

[00:20:20] Ester Malka: No, Jewish. 

[00:20:21] Interviewer: Jewish-American who sent [overlap] sugar and food staples. 

[00:20:29] Ester Malka: That's right. Flour [overlap], sugar, rice...I don't know what else. And they also gave them lunch. 

[00:20:42] Interviewer: Okay. 

[00:20:44] Ester Malka: Around three o'clock before the end of school. We had a large cafeteria there with Muslims who were working full time. They had their homes there, they lived and prepared the sandwiches, not sandwiches, small toasts with jam and distributed them to those who wanted them. Those who wanted it took them. Whose who did not want them, did not take them. 

[00:21:08] Interviewer: You have 13 brothers and sisters and what number are you within the siblings? 

[00:21:15] Ester Malka: I am the third. I have two older brothers and after me...

[00:21:23] Interviewer: Right. So there was a big table with at least 16 people around it ever night and every day. Are you very close with your siblings? 

[00:21:37] Ester Malka: Very close. 

[00:21:38] Interviewer: [overlap]...the older ones? 

[00:21:39] Ester Malka: Very close to all of them. 

[00:21:40] Interviewer: To all of them. 

[00:21:43] Ester Malka: We are all, whether we are far or close, we are close to each other. 

[00:21:55] Interviewer: I'm going to make you work because you will have us the names of all your siblings including birthdates. 

[00:22:03] Ester Malka: With birthdates?

[00:22:06] Interviewer: Just the year. 

[00:22:10] Ester Malka: I forgot to tell you I have two brothers who were born in Israel, the youngest ones. My children are the same age as my brothers and sisters. But the last four are the same age as my children. When I was pregnant my mother was also pregnant. 

[00:22:39] Interviewer: Can you give us their first names? Who is the first one? 

[00:22:43] Ester Malka: The first born is Jacques. 

[00:22:44] Interviewer: Jacques. 

[00:22:45] Ester Malka: After that came Maxime. 

[00:22:46] Interviewer: Okay. 

[00:22:47] Ester Malka: After Ester, obviously. After it's Haim. Then Maggie, Rifka, Solhi, Momi, Yaffa, Rachel, Shoshi, Eli [?] and Jossi [?]. I think I forgot someone. 

[00:23:13] Interviewer: I didn't count. I stopped because I was thinking about my next question. 

[00:23:18] Ester Malka: Ah, okay. 

[00:23:19] Interviewer: I wanted to ask if you had a good relationship with them. I would imagine so. 

[00:23:28] Ester Malka: Very good relationship. 

[00:23:32] Interviewer: Between sister, mother is almost...

[00:23:39] Ester Malka: We have a very good relationship. Very, very good relationship. We help each other. We's like we all lived in the same house. 

[00:23:52] Interviewer: You'll have to tell me how it was in the house. Do you still see each other? 

[00:23:57] Ester Malka: Yes. 

[00:23:57] Interviewer: Are you all...where is your family? Between Israel and...

[00:24:02] Ester Malka: Most of them are in Israel except my two older brothers who are in Montreal and me. I am the one who made one brother come over from Israel and one brother came over from Morocco. 

[00:24:19] Interviewer: Okay. Let's talk about memories from your home country, Canada. What are your first memories of Meknes? What do you remember? Tell me about where you grew up, the neighbourhood, did it have a name? 

[00:24:44] Ester Malka: Yes, it had a name. It was called Rabbi [?] street. 

[00:24:52] Man: [inaudible]

[00:24:52] Ester Malka: Rabbi street. That was the street, Rabbi street, that's what it was called. 

[00:24:56] Interviewer: So it was in the middle of the Jewish Quarter. 

[00:24:57] Ester Malka: Yes. 

[00:25:00] Man: In the mellah. 

[00:25:01] Ester Malka: The mellah. The mellah...

[00:25:09] Man: The mellah, and the new mellah. 

[00:25:10] Ester Malka: Afterword my father built a big house and we went up to...

[00:25:16] Man: To the new mellah. 

[00:25:17] Ester Malka: To the new mellah. 

[00:25:19] Interviewer: Okay. 

[00:25:19] Ester Malka: I remember the mellah a bit but I remember the other side more. 

[00:25:26] Interviewer: Since your father was a butcher, what social circle was he a part of? Was it more the religious circles? Did he help with charities? Or was he more focused on his work with little time for much else? 

[00:25:46] Ester Malka: We had, even through he worked we saw our father every night and on Shabbat. When there were holidays when we did not eat meat he would bring us all on vacation. 

[00:26:03] Interviewer: Where? In Morocco? 

[00:26:04] Ester Malka: In Morocco. 

[00:26:06] Interviewer: Where did you go? 

[00:26:07] Ester Malka: We went to...what is it called?

[00:26:10] Man: Moulay Yacoub.

[00:26:11] Ester Malka: Moulay Yacoub. We went...

[00:26:15] Man: It was a sulphurous spring. 

[00:26:16] Ester Malka: Yes. 

[00:26:19] Man: The water as hot when it came out of the ground and that is where they spent their holidays because it corresponded with the eight days we didn't eat meat. 

[00:26:27] Ester Malka: We didn't eat meat. 

[00:26:28] Interviewer: Okay. 

[00:26:29] Man: Since he supplied meat he had no work to do.  [inaudible] the whole family there. 

[00:26:37] Interviewer: Did a lot of Jewish families go there? Or not really? 

[00:26:41] Ester Malka: Quite a few. Quite a few. 

[00:26:43] Man: [inaudible]

[00:26:45] Ester Malka: At the hotel I remember..

[00:26:47] Man: No, not many. But they had eight days. Not everyone had...

[00:26:53] Interviewer: Okay. And you had...did you have mostly Jewish friends or non-Jewish friends? Did you have any non-Jewish friends or were you really in the mellah? 

[00:27:06] Ester Malka: I never had non-Jewish friends. Only Jewish friends. 

[00:27:12] Interviewer: Well with all the brothers and sisters, those were like friends. 

[00:27:15] Ester Malka: Yes, that's right. Exactly. I didn't have many friends because I left Morocco when... I left Meknes when I was 16 and I got married. I got married at 16 and I lived in Casablanca. Immediately after my parents decided to leave because my older brother wanted to leave and I stayed. [00:27:44] I suffered quite a bit. When my parents and siblings left it was terrible. I was not happy. Later on, I went to visit them, after the Six-Day War [phone rings]...

[00:28:32] Interviewer: He'd like for us to talk about your activities. 

[00:28:42] Ester Malka: Activities, yes. Our activities were mostly on Saturdays, I had friends over and in the afternoon we had a club know how on Sundays they would bring us and we sang...

[00:28:59] Man: The cub scouts. 

[00:29:00] Ester Malka: The cub scouts, that's it. We spent the entire afternoon singing...

[00:29:06] Man: The scouts. 

[00:29:07] Ester Malka: Like the scouts and they told us what we would be doing on Sunday, where we would go. They prepared us, told us what we had to wear. We had little ties and a cute little outfit. On Sundays they brought us to the fields and we would visit the fields and at the same time we sang songs in Hebrew and French. That's what we did most of the time. 

[00:29:34] Interviewer: You were a part of the Israeli scouts. 

[00:29:36] Ester Malka: That's right, the scouts. 

[00:29:37] Interviewer: Israeli...of Meknes in fact. 

[00:29:40] Ester Malka: In Meknes, yes. They had a large club in Meknes where we anyone who wanted to could come. Generally speaking, there were a number of boys and girls and we went there and it was nice. It was very nice. I remember it being really cute. We spent an afternoon like that and on Sundays we always had an outing somewhere. 

[00:30:08] Interviewer: So did you speak French or Hebrew with your friends? 

[00:30:13] Ester Malka: French. 

[00:30:13] Interviewer: French, always. So you mostly spoke French and what language did you speak at home?

[00:30:20] Ester Malka: I spoke to my siblings in French but we spoke Arabic with my mother. 

[00:30:28] Interviewer: So with your mother you spoke Arabic. 

[00:30:29] Ester Malka: And with my father as well, Arabic. He didn't speak French. 

[00:30:32] Interviewer: Not French? 

[00:30:32] Ester Malka: No. 

[00:30:33] Interviewer: And with your grandparents, Arabic? 

[00:30:34] Ester Malka: Arabic. They didn't speak French [overlap]. 

[00:30:36] Interviewer: [overlap] a lot of the family left for Israel, had thy learned Hebrew? 

[00:30:42] Ester Malka: Good question. 

[00:30:43] Interviewer: Hebrew in Jewish school? 

[00:30:44] Ester Malka: In Jewish school, yes. Everyone speaks Hebrew very well. From the first year everyone spoke Hebrew. 

[00:30:53] Interviewer: And it was learned in school or...with the family? 

[00:30:57] Ester Malka: No, it was at school first. They were young; they all went to Jewish school in Israel so they learned quickly. After that they went off into the army, they got married. 

[00:31:11] Interviewer: I meant the ones who went to Israel but in your family it was French...

[00:31:15] Ester Malka: In Morocco? 

[00:31:16] Interviewer: In Morocco. 

[00:31:16] Ester Malka: It was only French and Arabic. 

[00:31:19] Interviewer: And Arabic. So you did not learn Hebrew in Morocco?

[00:31:22] Ester Malka: Non, not much. 

[00:31:23] Interviewer: It's when they left that they integrated. 

[00:31:27] Ester Malka: [overlap] Oh yes, we knew the prayers. The prayers. The prayers, the Shabbat songs we sang and my father loved singing the songs of...even here my husband sings them and it reminds me of my father. Every time he does something I tell myself, "My father did the same thing on Friday nights."

[00:31:55] Interviewer: When he sang the prayers...

[00:31:56] Ester Malka: He sang the prayers but he did the songs as well, Hebrew Shabbat songs, and Saturday at noon as well, Shabbat songs. 

[00:32:08] Interviewer: So you really liked singing in you family. 

[00:32:09] Ester Malka: Yes. 

[00:32:10] Interviewer: Very much so. 

[00:32:11] Ester Malka: Like my mother. 

[00:32:13] Interviewer: Because Saturday afternoon you sang as well and then you went with the scouts so you have a lot of memories around songs. 

[00:32:21] Ester Malka: Songs, a lot of songs. Even my granddaughters love singing. My daughter performs in Montreal and she loves singing. 

[00:32:35] Interviewer: Okay. 

[00:32:35] Ester Malka: And my other daughter is in Vancouver and when she was 16 she did a show in Montreal because she loves singing. Our family loves to sing. We love singing. 

[00:32:49] Interviewer: So we could say that a large majority of your activities focused on family, religion and singing which you shared with family or in other groups.

[00:33:06] Ester Malka: Like I told you...the group, the scouts. 

[00:33:10] Interviewer: Okay. Do you have memories of what they taught you in school? The Alliance was a Jewish school. Did they tell you what was happening outside the Jewish quarter or did everything revolve around religion and schooling?

[00:33:35] Ester Malka: No, generally speaking we didn't talk about anything. We studied but we didn't talk about what was happening around us. 

[00:33:43] Interviewer: And what were your interactions with the Muslim population of Morocco? 

[00:33:47] Ester Malka: It was good. I was...we had neighbours. I remember when my father built the house he had amazing neighbours. We enjoyed going to their house; they came to our house. 

[00:34:06] Interviewer: Muslim neighbours?

[00:34:07] Ester Malka: Muslim neighbours, yes. We had a very good rapport with them. 

[00:34:14] Interviewer: They obviously knew you were Jewish. 

[00:34:15] Ester Malka: [overlap] Obviously, and everything was great. 

[00:34:17] Interviewer: Everyone respected everyone else's holidays? 

[00:34:19] Ester Malka: Yes. Yes it was really - I have nice memories from my childhood. Afterward it was different. But I do remember it was really...

[00:34:34] Interviewer: So you didn't have any Muslim neighbours or friends with whom you did activities?

[00:34:41] Ester Malka: No, not activities. 

[00:34:43] Interviewer: [overlap]

[00:34:44] Ester Malka: It was a polite relationship. If, for example, my mother made a dish she knew they liked she would tell us to bring some to the neighbour and it was a reciprocal relationship. When she made things we didn't know how to make - we were glad to receive bread that was different. We got along. 

[00:35:10] Interviewer: Could you say you were good neighbours? 

[00:35:13] Ester Malka: We could say we were good neighbours. 

[00:35:16] Interviewer: Were there people working at your house? Muslim housekeepers?

[00:35:20] Ester Malka: Yes. 

[00:35:21] Interviewer: How many did you have? 

[00:35:23] Ester Malka: One person. My mother only had one person who would come. Sundays there was another one who came to do the laundry because there was no washing machine back then. That is all I remember. They were always very good people. 

[00:35:40] Interviewer: There we no issues in Morocco, it was only when the war happened. 

[00:35:46] Ester Malka: When the Six-Day War happened I was already married. I had two children and my husband has been so frightened that he put us in a plane and sent us to Paris. It was a disaster because I waited for someone who was supposed to come give me money and he never came. I had to, the family, there was not much family in France. I was at the Red Cross for a few days with my children. [00:36:18] That is a bad memory for me because both my children suffered and constantly cried. I decided to hit the road and come home to Morocco. 

[00:36:35] Man: You didn't talk about the [inaudible]

[00:36:37] Ester Malka: Why? Oh yes. I didn't tell you why I left after the war. 

[00:36:42] Interviewer: If you don't mind we'll move on a bit and come back to this important part of the story. Do you remember the food your parents prepared and your grandparents?

[00:37:03] Ester Malka: Food?

[00:37:05] Interviewer: Do you remember…anything having to do with life in Morocco. Was it mostly French food or Jewish, Moroccan?

[00:37:18] Ester Malka: It was always Jewish Moroccan food. No French recipes or anything like what we make now when we try to change the menu. No, on Shabbat it was a certain thing. For example, fish first. On Shabbat we had to have the fish, otherwise, it was not Shabbat. We had to do the beraha for the fish whether it be on Friday night or for lunch. We had to...

[00:37:46] Man: Saturday. 

[00:37:47] Ester Malka: For lunch Saturday. During the aperitif we did the beraha for the fish and we ate after that. After the aperitif Friday night the first meal was also fish after meat. And, obviously, we made a lot of salads. A lot of salads. 

[00:38:08] Interviewer: For lunch daf [?]. 

[00:38:09] Ester Malka: And for lunch we had daf, salads...and at four my mother prepared chicken, omelettes and meatballs and for the Shabbat sarhouda [sp?], around three or four o'clock. 

[00:38:30] Interviewer: Did your grandparents dress traditionally?

[00:38:36] Ester Malka: They dressed, my grandparents, my grandfather, I will always remember, would wear his nice tie, his nice white shirt, his nice pant but he would wear a djellaba over it. 

[00:38:49] Interviewer: Okay. All the time or just for Shabbat? 

[00:38:52] Ester Malka: For Shabbat. 

[00:38:54] Interviewer: Otherwise, during the day or when he worked? 

[00:38:56] Ester Malka: He wore something for work as well to not get dirty. I don't remember what it was but it wasn't the djellaba I saw - I would tell him, "Take that off. I don't like it. Stay in your suit." And he would tell me, "No, it's Shabbat I have ot go to the synagogue like this." 

[00:39:13] Interviewer: Did most people go to the synagogue in a djellaba? 

[00:39:16] Ester Malka: He did. 

[00:39:18] Interviewer: [overlap] ...he didn't wear, no?

[00:39:19] Ester Malka: No. No. My father? No, we didn't wear it. 

[00:39:34] Interviewer: Do you have memories from Passover Seder? Did you have any specific traditions? 

[00:39:40] Ester Malka: Traditions? Yes. I remember my mother made pancakes, those pancakes with orange juice that needed to go into the over right away. They could not sit very long at home. She made roasted beans, roasted nuts, all kinds of things for the aperitif. I do remember that. [00:40:10] And homemade almond cakes which were made of sugar and almonds, nothing more. 

[00:40:19] Man: Without wheat, without flour. 

[00:40:20] Ester Malka: Obviously. 

[00:40:23] Interviewer: If we're talking about community, were there many synagogues? Was there an important Jewish life? Was there a place to purchase things for the Passover meal like Matzo? How did that work? 

[00:40:40] Ester Malka: Yes. Yes it was really - before Passover it was like in Montreal. People go and buy a bit of everything: kosher spices, kosher pots, for the dishes to the...

[00:41:00] Interviewer: [overlap] for Passover?

[00:41:03] Ester Malka: Obviously, obviously. Everything had to be new. The tablecloth.

[00:41:10] Interviewer: Did you clean before?

[00:41:11] Ester Malka: A big cleaning before. My god, what cleaning. It was, I think it was craziness. Everything was put out. There was paint, we went through pocket, my mother would give me my father's pants to check his pockets to make sure there were no crumbs or candy. We had to clean everything. 

[00:41:34] Interviewer: When you say paint, do you mean you had to repaint?

[00:41:37] Ester Malka: Yes, we had to paint the house for Passover. 

[00:41:45] Interviewer: And synagogue, was it a small family synagogue or was it a big synagogue where everyone went? 

[00:41:53] Ester Malka: Well, we remember it as a big synagogue but when my sister left she told me everything that seemed big to us became very small. The alleyways we lived on seemed huge but no, you look at it now and it's impossibly small. [00:42:15] I can't tell you they synagogue was very big but there was a lot of people. It was - and each neighbourhood had two or three synagogues. All the families were big back then. 

[00:42:30] Interviewer: Were you close with the Rabbi? 

[00:42:33] Ester Malka: Ah, when we saw the Rabbi it was something else. We would kiss his hand. For us, seeing the Rabbi was like seeing an angel. 

[00:42:44] Man: He looked like an angel. 

[00:42:46] Ester Malka: He was - and they looked like angels. It was something for us. When they walked by we wanted to kiss their hand. 

[00:42:56] Interviewer: Your mother was very busy but was she involved in Jewish community life? Did she help people or was she mostly focused on her family? 

[00:43:05] Ester Malka: She was focused on her family and on her sister who was poor. She helped her financially. My father helped his sister financially as well. They did not have much money. My father's clients would tell me that he had been an angel for them because he knew who didn't have money and he would buy it and send it to them. 

[00:43:41] Interviewer: So they could have meat [overlap]

[00:43:42] Ester Malka: [overlap] for Shabbat. 

[00:43:43] Man: Even meat. 

[00:43:44] Ester Malka: Even meat. And when they came to the store he knew they were people who could not afford to pay.  He knew. I think his biggest mitzvah was that one. It is what he did for people. 

[00:44:03] Interviewer: Everyone has their own way to give tzedakah.

[00:44:06] Ester Malka: Tzedakah, that's it. 

[00:44:09] Interviewer: As his daughter, you can say he was a man who did good things. 

[00:44:18] Ester Malka: Family...

[00:44:19] Interviewer: Family, having his own family was his first mitzvah. And then he helped the needy. Did your parents have unique superstitions?

[00:44:33] Ester Malka: No. Not at all. I learned superstitions when I got married. My mother-in-law was very superstitious. I did not understand why she told me, "Do this. Do that. Do not say that." It seemed odd to me. I would go see my mother and would tell her, "You know, my mother-in-law is always telling me to be careful." 

[00:44:55] Interviewer: What type of superstitions did you learn with your in-laws? The eye? The [inaudible]?

[00:45:00] Ester Malka: Yes, a lot to do with that. When someone tells you this you shouldn't answer that. You shouldn't say.  Before it made me...I didn't like it much because I didn't understand. I didn't get it. In my family my mother would never tell us such things. We were not at all and we still aren't in the family. We do not have any superstitions. [00:45:31] We believe in god and that's it. We don't believe in anything else. 

[00:45:37] Interviewer: So the whole family went to school at the Alliance but was it only to go to school or...your parents weren't very involved in the community outside the synagogue. They were too busy with work to go do charity work. Were they involve in any Jewish groups?

[00:46:17] Ester Malka: The synagogues. Mostly. 

[00:46:18] Man: [overlap] ...14 children. 

[00:46:20] Ester Malka: Mostly synagogue. 

[00:46:34] Interviewer: You said your grandmother left very early on, in 1948. What did your mother think of her going to Israel? How did she perceive Israel?

[00:46:52] Ester Malka: My parents never really considered going to Israel until my brother Kadeh wanted to follow his fiancée. He was my mothers favourite, she named him after her father, Maxi, so for her - she had to leave with him. [00:47:18] He wanted to follow his fiancée and my mother told my father, "We have to go too. We have to sell the house. We have to go as well, I don't want to let my son go alone." My father told her, "Listen, we have...what are you going to do with all these children?" [00:47:40] A Rabbi suggested a place they could go to in Paris. They needed a man like my father. He told them, "If you go to Paris you'll have this, you'll have that." But my mother wanted Israel. She said, "My mother is there. My brother is there. We have family there. We have nothing left here. A lot of people are leaving and we are leaving too." [00:48:06] My father was in a very good situation in Morocco, he had to leave everything to follow my brother Maxi. And that is how they left. 

[00:48:18] Interviewer: When they offered him something in France, was it to be a butcher?

[00:48:21] Ester Malka: To be...yes. To work with the Rabbi in the slaughterhouse. 

[00:48:27] Man: [overlap] He was the one who slaughtered. 

[00:48:28] Ester Malka: He was the one who slaughtered. They needed [overlap] another one like him. 

[00:48:33] Man: The Rabbi oversaw it and he did the slaughtering. 

[00:48:35] Interviewer: What year did they leave?

[00:48:38] Ester Malka: They left in '62 I think. 


[00:48:47] Ester Malka: [overlap] No, no, the Six-Day War was well after that. They were already in Israel. I went to see them after the war. 

[00:48:56] Interviewer: They left in 1962, '63. 

[00:49:00] Ester Malka: Yes, before the Six-Day War. 

[00:49:04] Interviewer: The Six-Day War was in '67?

[00:49:06] Ester Malka: The war...[overlap]

[00:49:10] Man: ' got married...

[00:49:11] Ester Malka: In '63...I got married. 

[00:49:13] Man: They were still there. 

[00:49:14] Ester Malka: They were still in Morocco but they left a year and a half later. They did not stay. 

[00:49:22] Interviewer: The whole family left? You said four siblings were born in Israel. 

[00:49:27] Ester Malka: In Israel. 

[00:49:28] Interviewer: So they left with nine children. 

[00:49:31] Ester Malka: No, one, Shoshanna was born while they were packing to move. She was born, my mother had just given birth, she wasn't even a month old when they left. 

[00:49:45] Interviewer: Shoshanna was number ten?

[00:49:51] Ester Malka: She was number eleven. 

[00:49:51] Interviewer: Ah, number eleven. So one was born in Morocco and the other three...

[00:49:55] Ester Malka: The other three were born in...yeah. 

[00:49:57] Interviewer: Were you the only one who stayed in Morocco?

[00:50:01] Ester Malka: Yes. The only one. the only girl who stayed in Morocco. No, my brother Jacques was there. My brother Jacques and I; he stayed in Meknes and I was in Casa. We saw each other almost every week. I went to his house of Shabbat; he wanted us to spend Shabbat together. Then we decided to go see my parents in Israel after the war. [00:50:29] I was very frightened for my brothers. There were a number of things rushing through my mind. I went to see them and it calmed me down. When my father told my husband, "Listen, it'll be difficult here with your profession. You don't speak Hebrew. You will have to complete your studies in accounting. It will be difficult for you." So we decided to come to Canada. 

[00:51:02] Interviewer: You met your husband when you were 16. [00:51:18] When you went to Israel were you relieved to see how your parents were living?

[00:51:27] Ester Malka: More or less. Not quite. Not quite. 

[00:51:31] Interviewer: You were relieved for them. You stayed but did you experience anti-Semitism or anti-zionism when you stayed?

[00:51:45] Ester Malka: At first, after we decided to stay, it was okay. But like I told you, during the Six-Day War, when my husband sent us to France and we came back a few months later, we found a knife on my front door. My husband got scared and wanted to leave. 

[00:52:10] Interviewer: It was a threat. 

[00:52:11] Ester Malka: It was like a threat but rally we don't know who. Was it someone who wanted to harm us? Did they do it to get us to leave? He was working for a very large company, Martinez Body Shop [overlap] in Casablanca. He was an accountant but he took care of everything. [00:52:35] He was like the boss. He made a very good living. After that knife he was scared and wanted us to leave. Now, looking back, I tell myself we had a good life in Morocco. We wanted for nothing. WE got along with the Muslims and they got along with us. They never harmed us. [00:53:04] But because of this knife, and because we didn't know who did it, that was it, we were shaken. 

[00:53:12] Interviewer: Did you feel that people around you were leaving as well?

[00:53:17] Ester Malka: Oh yes. A lot of people were leaving. When we left there was a wave of people moving to Montreal. 

[00:53:29] Interviewer: So they saw things like your husband did; that the situation was...

[00:53:32] Ester Malka: Yes, maybe. But...

[00:53:34] Interviewer: I mean, it wasn't overt. There were no attacks, no Jews were killed. It was an feeling rather than...

[00:53:46] Ester Malka: No, it was mostly, for example, the "fatmas" who worked at the neighbours would get together and would start talking about the Jews, things like that. So when we heard things like these we wondered, it bothered us. It was a bit scary, especially for the babies and the little one. My mother-in-law scared me. She would tell me, "You know, they will take your children. One day they will take Kathy. She doesn’t have children and she will take her." [00:54:23] She adored my children and I knew she adored them but when you're told this repeatedly fear starts to sink in. You start being afraid as well. Otherwise, I don't know. 

[00:54:45] Interviewer: When we talk about your life in Morocco, aside from this knife incident, you had a good life. You did not have any deep relations with the Arabs. [phone rings] Were you ever invited to their weddings? 

[00:55:20] Ester Malka: No. 

[00:55:22] Interviewer: Everyone did their own thing. 

[00:55:22] Ester Malka: Yes. 

[00:55:23] Interviewer: You were not invited to their celebrations, not invited to their weddings. Do you remember your brothers inviting Muslim friends to their bar mitzvah?

[00:55:32] Ester Malka: No. 

[00:55:33] Interviewer: Everyone did their own thing. 

[00:55:34] Ester Malka: Yes. No. That...there was none of that. However on the night of Mimouna the Arabs who worked for my father at the stables would come and bring us a bunch of things like butter, milk and other things. 

[00:55:57] Man: Bread. 

[00:55:57] Ester Malka: What? Bread, wheat to wish us [Hebrew]. 

[00:56:05] Interviewer: And during Ramadan, did you...[phone rings] You didn't participate. You were aware but...

[00:56:17] Ester Malka: Yes. We were aware but we didn't participate. 

[00:56:21] Interviewer: No birthdays or...[overlap]

[00:56:26] Ester Malka: But, for me, aside from that knife, I always had a good life in Morocco. My husband left Morocco at a moment where he could have become very rich. Because the French told them, "You have to take a Moroccan even for a dirham otherwise you leave Morocco." It was a period where you had to be associated with a Moroccan if you want to keep your business. [00:56:55] It was a big body shop called Martinez Body Shop and they love my husband. When he wanted to leave they could come and cry at the house and they would say he was giving them an ulcer. They said that, "My boss is leaving, I am leaving. I will not stay." He said, "I am bringing my boss. I will build you a city beside my city. You will have a guard to bring your children to school so you won't be scared.." [00:57:25] My husband didn't want to hear any of it. He wanted to leave. 

[00:57:29] Interviewer: So from the time you got that knife to when you left, how much time was there in between?

[00:57:37] Ester Malka: When they put the knife and now...we're been in Montreal for more than 40 years. 

[00:57:48] Interviewer: No between the knife and the moment he decided to leave and you took the boat. 

[00:57:53] Ester Malka: Ah no, we took the plane. 

[00:57:55] Interviewer: The plane. 

[00:57:56] Ester Malka: We took, we, in fact, we were in Israel and we stopped by Paris after the Six-Day War to see an association...I don't know what it was called. They did the paperwork for people to go to Canada. 

[00:58:17] Interviewer: Right, so you went from Meknes to Montreal. 

[00:58:22] Ester Malka: No, Not...we went from Casa to Paris. From Paris we went to see the office that was called, I don't know, and they did made the requests to go to Canada. I don't know what it was called. They told us there was no problem, they signed us up and everything but they told us if we had the means to Israel we could afford to buy our tickets to Montreal ourselves. [00:58:53] We said, my husband said there was no problem. 

[00:58:56] Interviewer: Had you bought a house when you got married?

[00:59:01] Ester Malka: No, we were renting. 

[00:59:02] Interviewer: You were renting. You made you card. 

[00:59:04] Ester Malka: We made our card and sent it and we came right after. The JIAS welcomed us. The JIAS provided help, a lot of help. 

[00:59:20] Interviewer: How? Paperwork? 

[00:59:20] Ester Malka: [overlap] The JIAS helped us with everything, everything. We arrived on the eve of Rosh Hashanah. Someone came to the airport to pick us up. They told us, "You know, tomorrow is a holiday. I will bring you to, I don't know, I think it was Steinberg or something like that, you will buy all you need because tomorrow is a holiday." [00:59:48] He told us that after the holidays we could go to the JIAS offices and the person who would take care of us is Mr. Sten [sp?]. And he really took care of us. They helped us get the kids in school, the doctors we should go see, the doctors for the kids, winter clothing. We moved onto...what was that street called...and in the apartment we found new bedding, new pillows with "welcome" written on the bed. [01:00:34] I was, I couldn’t believe they were doing all this for us. It was extraordinary. We were really...We even went to the market and my husband wanted to pay and needed to exchange French money and he told he told him, "No, no, don't worry about it. Just get what you need and I will take care of it." [01:00:57] They took care of us. My husband could not find work because he needed to learn English first. Because he was an accountant but had not gone to school to become an expert, he knew everything better than someone who would have become an expert accountant. When we would go meet companies he told them he could do the books and other things but they would say it was too much for them. They were only looking for a simple accountant. [01:01:29] When we saw it would be difficult he learned how to type and that's when he started working. But for at least four years, three to four years the JIAS supported us. My husband had a salary and I had recently had another baby, the fourth one, so...

[01:01:59] Interviewer: Was it salary given by the JIAS?

[01:02:03] Ester Malka: At first they gave us money for expenses and even for rent. When he started working a Rabbi came and told my husband, "Now you will help us. How much can you give us each week? $25? $20? $30? Whatever you can. Now you are working you are doing well." My husband said, "Yes, happily. I will give you whatever you'd like every month." [01:02:36] But I must say the JIAS did some incredible things. Incredible. Whether it was coats, boots, Mr. Sten sent for everything. "The children must need this. What do you need?" It was wonderful. 

[01:02:55] Interviewer: How were you able to emigrate from Morocco to France?

[01:02:59] Ester Malka: I didn't emigrate to France. 

[01:03:00] Interviewer: You just stayed...

[01:03:02] Ester Malka: On standby to go see Mrs... Mrs. Swart I believe she was called. She made the papers to come to Montreal with the JIAS. 

[01:03:18] Interviewer: When you arrived the JIAS helped you. Did you meet other families in the same situation as you?

[01:03:24] Ester Malka: Oh yes, many. 

[01:03:26] Interviewer: Did you bond with those families? 

[01:03:28] Ester Malka: Yes. Yes. Everyone told their story. Some were happy, others were unhappy. I quickly...I...

[01:03:44] Interviewer: You adapted quickly? 

[01:03:45] Ester Malka: I adapted quickly. I adapted quickly. 

[01:03:49] Interviewer: And you found a synagogue there? 

[01:03:50] Ester Malka: Yes. I found friends, wonderful neighbours. I really liked it. I really liked Canada. 

[01:04:04] Interviewer: And your brother joined you afterward? 

[01:04:06] Ester Malka: My brother came to visit. He told me, "I missed you too much. I will come see you." Because my father had told him, "I'm leaving you your sister but you will replace me. You must not abandon her. You must go see her. Spend Shabbat together, holidays together." [01:04:24] So my brother came to see me in Montreal and he really liked it. A few months later he came. 

[01:04:35] Interviewer: So everyone in your family left Morocco of their own accord. You did not leave houses behind. You didn't leave anything behind. 

[01:04:51] Ester Malka: No, we didn't have a house. We had a bit of money and that was it. We took what we needed. No. 

[01:05:00] Interviewer: How old were you when you arrived in Canada?

[01:05:05] Ester Malka: In Canada? I think I was 21 years old. 

[01:05:09] Interviewer: What memories did you retain from Morocco? Did you miss it? Was it easier because you were 21 and young? Were you nostalgic?

[01:05:24] Ester Malka: Not really, not really. Not really. I really liked Morocco but...but I really liked Montreal. I really liked Montreal. 

[01:05:39] Interviewer: [overlap]

[01:05:41] Ester Malka: I, yes, given a very nice welcome. Better than nice. 

[01:05:47] Interviewer: From what you are telling me I can tell you kept your Sephardic heritage but what did you carry with you as far as your Moroccan and Jewish heritage? 

[01:06:08] Ester Malka: the heritage? Well, for example, how do celebrate Shabbat. When you have to light the candles on Shabbat...

[01:06:17] Interviewer: The traditions. 

[01:06:19] Ester Malka: The traditions, how to host, to care for others, invite people who have nowhere to go, things like that. Things my mother did. When someone had nowhere to go for the holidays or for Shabbat, we do the same thing. 

[01:06:38] Interviewer: So the most important aspect of your Sephardic Jew heritage is Judaism and the tradition of loving others and helping...

[01:06:49] Ester Malka: Helping people.

[01:06:50] Interviewer: Through food...

[01:06:53] Ester Malka: My mother always taught us that, that you should always give, love, never speak ill of people. It is very important. That's what she always told us. 

[01:07:10] Interviewer: If you had to describe your cultural identity, are you Jewish? Jewish-Canadian? Moroccan who became -how do you describe yourself? 

[01:07:25] Ester Malka: Sephardic Jew. I am a Sephardic Jew. 

[01:07:32] Interviewer: When your mother left for Israel she was older, did your parents have a difficult time after leaving Morocco?

[01:07:41] Ester Malka: My father had a difficult time. My father had a difficult time and he passed away very young.

[01:07:48] Interviewer: Do you think it was [overlap]

[01:07:50] Ester Malka: He was very sad because, first off, he had to change all his money and got almost nothing. And he sold the house and sold the house for next to nothing. We sold the house for less than it cost to build it. My mother said nothing. [01:08:11] She said nothing, She knew it was her fault so she tried to make his life easier. He started working in a factory. He fell and hurt his kidneys. He was not treated properly, he developed diabetes. It was one thing after another. He died at 62. He was very sad. He had put most of his money in his luggage and what did they find in the luggage when they went to collect it? Boxes of paint and rocks. It was horrible. [01:08:53] The same happened to my brother Maxime. All the money he had, all his savings, all the money my grandfather had given him, he had bought things because he said there were no jeans and other things we wanted in Israel. He bought and bought and bought and packed everything up to send it and the same thing happened to him. He got there and they had stolen everything. The same thing happened to my father; they stole everything. 

[01:09:19] Interviewer: Is that in Morocco or when it arrived in Israel? 

[01:09:21] Ester Malka: They don't know. They don't know. They don't know. They told him to come get his things and when he got there and opened it was a shock. My mother told me, because I wasn't there, and when I went to see them she said, "That's what happened. Your father has fallen ill and the same happened to your brother." It was, it was not, it was a hard blow. Very hard. [01:09:49] After that, when I arrived, my father told me, "No my daughter, go back to your husband. Stay where you are. It's not for him. It's not for your husband." Because my husband had had an accident, he injured his leg. He could walk but it was a little…and he knew it wasn't possible for him. He couldn't...

[01:10:16] Interviewer: It was too hard [overlap] 

[01:10:18] Ester Malka: It was too hard. Because it was very hard for him he figured it would be hard for my husband as well. That's why we decided to go to Canada. 

[01:10:30] Interviewer: What message would you like to share with the people listening to this interview? 

[01:10:40] Ester Malka: Such as...?

[01:10:41] Interviewer: there are people who have left their country because they were in danger and had no choice. If you had to do it again, would you have stayed in Morocco or are you pleased with the way your life turned out? 

[01:11:07] Ester Malka: Yes. Exactly that. I nostalgic for Morocco,; I only remember the good things. But I loved Montreal very much. I loved Montreal and I feel good in Montreal and my kids as well. It's true. I have nothing to say, I love Montreal. 

[01:11:30] Interviewer: Have you been back to Morocco?

[01:11:31] Ester Malka: No. 

[01:11:32] Interviewer: Never? You never went back to Morocco after that day you left? 

[01:11:35] Ester Malka: No. 

[01:11:36] Interviewer: Why do you think you've never been back? 

[01:11:39] Ester Malka: Why haven't I been back? Because I was very busy. I had my kids one after the other, they only have one year between them. I didn't have time to think and when I considered going I was to go with my big brother who wanted to go to on a pilgrimage for our grandparents. 

[01:12:01] Interviewer: To your grandparent's tomb. 

[01:12:02] Ester Malka: To my grandparent's tomb. And as it happened, the year I wanted to go with my big brother my husband passed away. So I couldn' was impossible. In my mind, trips or travel...losing my husband was very difficult and...

[01:12:32] Interviewer: So going back was not an option. 

[01:12:34] Ester Malka: It wasn't an option. 

[01:12:48] Interviewer: Obviously, the thought of losing your husband is still very painful. Would you want to go back with your children? With one of your children?

[01:13:01] Ester Malka: For a pilgrimage? My children, yes, my daughter is still invited to Arabic weddings and all that. they ask me if I want to come. She often asks me but I tell her no. I don't know why but I don't feel like going. 

[01:13:26] Interviewer: Have you turned a page on it?

[01:13:28] Ester Malka: It's page I have turned. I don't want to go back. 

[01:13:32] Interviewer: And do you back to Israel frequently?

[01:13:35] Ester Malka: Yes. Very often. I just came back. 

[01:13:40] Interviewer: Where is your home? Canada? Israel? Miami?

[01:13:46] Ester Malka: Well, it's mostly Montreal, Canada because of my children. And I have family in Israel whom I have to go see. I like going to see them for weddings for...I like seeing...I used to go twice a year when my father was sick. He asked me so I went twice a year. [01:14:10] I left the kids with my husband and I went. 

[01:14:14] Interviewer: You go see your...

[01:14:15] Ester Malka: My brothers and sisters, yes. 

[01:14:19] Interviewer: And how many grandchildren do you have? Children...

[01:14:26] Ester Malka: My grandchildren?

[01:14:27] Interviewer: No, your children and the brothers? Your children and your siblings' children. 

[01:14:34] Man: [inaudible]

[01:14:39] Ester Malka: I can't even count them. 

[01:14:42] Interviewer: Fourteen times [overlap] Four, five each?

[01:14:42] Ester Malka: I can't count them. At least. 

[01:14:47] Interviewer: At least?

[01:14:48] Ester Malka: At least. 

[01:14:48] Interviewer: Fourteen times five at least. 

[01:14:49] Ester Malka: Yes. 

[01:14:51] Interviewer: And then...

[01:14:51] Ester Malka: The little ones...[overlap]

[01:14:54] Interviewer: Weddings [overlap]

[01:14:57] Man: [inaudible]

[01:15:10] Interviewer: So you find yourself somewhere between Israel and Canada for weddings, bar mitzvahs, births.

[01:15:17] Ester Malka: And since we are retired, mu husband and I, I met him eight years after my husband died, I met Raffi.

[01:15:29] Interviewer: In Canada. 

[01:15:29] Ester Malka: In Canada. 

[01:15:31] Interviewer: You were introduced. 

[01:15:32] Ester Malka: Yes. By my brother. My brother knew him and introduced him to me. 

[01:15:38] Interviewer: Ester did an interview so why are you not doing an interview?

[01:15:42] Man: I'm ready if you'd like but I'll make you a coffee. 

[01:15:47] Interviewer: You want a coffee?

[01:15:57] Man: I'll make you a coffee, a small one or a big one?

[01:15:49] [overlap]

[01:16:01] Interviewer: Thank you very much. 

[01:16:02] Ester Malka: Thank you. It was a pleasure to remember...[overlap]

[01:16:10] Man: Do you want foam in your coffee?

[01:16:12] Interviewer: Foam is perfect. 

[01:16:14] Ester Malka: There's no water in the back though. 

[01:16:18] Interviewer: It's emotional and brings back memories and stirs things up but that's what you'd want to tell people listening. It is a part of your heritage's an inherent part of you but it's still a page you have turned. 

[01:16:43] Ester Malka: Yes, I have turned the page, absolutely. 

[01:16:47] Interviewer: Thank you Ester. Thank you for your participation. 

Ester Malka – English translation