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Michael Ettedgui
Marcos Soberano
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Marcos Soberano was born in Tangiers, Morocco, to a working class family in 1923. He excelled in academics from a very early age and started his formal education at the Ecole de L'Alliance Israelite, a French language Jewish day school. Outside of school, Marcos taught himself the classics, the laws of the Talmud, and all the prayers necessary to officiate in synagogue, where he was a loyal attendant. He loved languages and reading and even taught Hebrew and English in Morocco at the very same school he attended as a young boy.

In 1947, at the age of 24, Marcos married Simy Mergui and very quickly started a family that would eventually blossom to include 11 children. Marcos began his career at the bank in Tangiers as his family started to grow, all the while continuing to supplement his income by teaching at night, and preparing boys for their Bar mitzvahs. It was during this period that Marcos also became very involved in his community, becoming an advocate for poorer families and eventually becoming head of the bank's union, fighting for better compensation for his fellow employees. His proudest accomplishment in this capacity was successfully campaigning to close Moroccan banks on Shabbat, so their largely Jewish staffs could enjoy the holy day of rest.

In 1964, as the situation for Jews in Morocco became more precarious, many people started emigrating from the country including Marcos and his family who set sail for Toronto, Canada. He was 34 with 10 children at the time. Adjusting to life in a new country, with a new climate and a new culture was challenging for Marcos, but he was resilient and quickly adapted by acquiring a job at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, where he was eventually promoted to deputy manager.

Marcos always had a deep love of learning and instilled this value in his children. He was very proud that many of his children graduated with advanced degrees in university. He took great pride in his 32 grandchildren and loved helping them prepare for their bar mitzvahs and attending their brit milot and weddings.

Marcos died on March 24th, 2005 at the age of 82 at Baycrest Hospital, surrounded by all of his children. At his funeral and shiva, his family was overwhelmed by the community's outpouring of grief and support and were surprised to hear from many people how Marcos helped them financially, with education, with navigating the complicated bureaucracy in Canada and with being a faithful friend.

 

 
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