PRAIA, Cape Verde — A Portuguese rabbi and a Moroccan diplomat stood shoulder to shoulder in a Catholic cemetery here while 200 mourners howled in grief as they buried a resident of this island off the western coast of Africa.
The foreigners had come to Cape Verde’s main cemetery earlier this month not to bury a local, but for the rededication of 10 gravestones of Moroccan Jews — members of an extinct community whose roots trace to the 1860s.
With virtually no practicing Jews on Cape Verde today, the cemeteries had fallen into neglect. Now a Washington-based nonprofit is spearheading their restoration.
The Cape Verde Jewish Heritage Project has a board stuffed with prominent Jewish Washingtonians, but its funding comes almost entirely from one man — King Mohammed VI of Morocco.