Posts Tagged ‘Morocco Jewish Tour’

Morocco Jewish Trips, Remarkable Places and Historical Sites

Thursday, September 12th, 2019

Ibn Danan Synagogue, Fes

Morocco is steeped in Jewish Heritage and Culture. The country has a remarkable history of Jewish life that sets it apart from other Muslim nations. If you are Jewish and interested in touring Morocco you are guaranteed to discover ancient traditions and old-world customs that have permeated Moroccan Jewish society for centuries. Morocco’s key Jewish Heritage sites are located throughout the country’s Imperial Cities and rural regions. The sheer number of Jewish sites is staggering.

“ Moroccan society is partly built on Jewish culture, a culture deeply rooted in three millennia of history,” André Azoulay, Senior Adviser to King Mohammed VI of Morocco

As a Jewish traveler, you can explore synagogues, cemeteries, holy zaouias, monuments, and historic homes. Morocco’s most remarkable places and historical sites are centered around the Jewish Mellah in Casablanca, Tangier, Fes, Marrakech, and Essaouira. The countryside offers additional fascinating Jewish sites of pilgrimage that are frequented by Israeli’s in particular and Moroccan Jews living abroad. They come to visit holy zaouias of celebrated former Rabbi’s (Saints) who were once honored by their local communities.

Morocco also has intimate Jewish community with strong ties, connecting with them is part of enriching the travel experience. The largest Jewish community that is thriving today is in Casablanca.  Over 3,000 Casablanca Jews live outside the Mellah in the European city, where they worship in over 30 synagogues, eat in kosher restaurants, entertain themselves in community centers, and attend Jewish schools and social service centers. They worship at Temple Beth El, the largest synagogue and an important community center. There is a smaller, yet lively, Jewish community in Fes and Marrakech. Sharing a traditional Sephardic meal on Shabbat at the Kosher Club in Casablanca, or a Kosher restaurant in Fes or Marrakech will offer a glimpse into Jewish life today.

Each of Morocco’s Jewish quarters (Mellah) are comprised of historic Jewish architecture and monuments. The Mellah is home to synagogues and cemeteries surrounded by local markets and city life. Today the Moroccan Mellah is inhabited primarily by Muslim families who relocated there when Jews migrated to Israel in 1948. The Jews who left Morocco did so in hope of a more prosperous life and to be surrounded by their brethren after World War II.  Jewish sites in Morocco are protected by the Moroccan Kingdom and open daily for visitors.

Ancient Tombs, Miaara Jewish Cemetery, Marrakech

Morocco Jewish Heritage Tour: Remarkable Places & Sites You Will Visit:

• Temple Beth- El, Casablanca
• Museum of Moroccan Judaism, Casablanca
• Ibn Danan Synagogue & Jewish Mellah, Fes
• Jewish Cemetery & Tomb of Solica, Fes
• Maimonides Home, Fes
• Jewish Mellah, Cemetery & Lazama Synagogue, Marrakech
• New Jewish Synagogue, Ville Nouvelle Marrakech
• Jewish Mellah, Cemetery & Miaara Cemetery, Marrakech
• Chaim Pinto Synagogue,  Essaouira
• Jewish Mellah, Cemetery & Zaouia’s Sahara Desert Region

 Visiting Morocco offers a rare glimpse into peaceful Jewish-Muslim coexistence.

Jewish Mellah, Fes Rue des Merinides (Derb El Mellah)

The historic Jewish Mellah in each Imperial City stands with grace next to sultanate palaces; fine jewelers display their wares next to vivacious spice vendors and synagogues lie hidden behind doorways on every street. If you look carefully can find Stars of David etched above doorframes.

Jewish culture has been interwoven throughout Morocco for centuries. It is believed that Jews settled in Morocco prior to the destruction of the first Temple Mount. A Morocco Jewish Heritage Tour provides an in-depth exploration of Jewish culture and its vast history from the time of the Philistines to the 21st Century.

Touring Morocco and its historic Jewish Heritage Sites is something every Jew should consider.

Touring Morocco and its historic Jewish Heritage Sites is something every Jew should consider. Morocco’s unique history of Jewry and the co-mingling of Jews with Berbers and Arabs is what makes the country safe to visit and an icon of peace for the entire Muslim world. The climate and culture of Morocco with its keen mix of Jewish, Berber and Arabe traditions, UNESCO Heritage sites and cities, a magnificent coast, Moorish architecture, glorious markets, and food tourism make it an ideal vacation destination.

Traditional Moroccan Jewish Meal

Should you embark on a private, guided Morocco Jewish Heritage Tour, you can anticipate hearing Stories of the Mellah, learning about Morocco’s Sephardic Jewish traditions and discovering the hidden jewels of Morocco’s Jewish past.  With the only Jewish Museum in the Islamic world and history of religious tolerance, visiting Morocco offers a rare glimpse into peaceful Jewish-Muslim coexistence.

The Jewish Moroccan Heritage, Your Morocco Tour Guide

Monday, December 24th, 2012

Moroccan Jews of Southern Morocco

The busy medinas of Morocco with their maze of zig-zagging streets reveal the daily life as it was for Morocco’s jewish population  who lived in the mellahs the walled-in old sections of the cities of Rabat, Fez, Marrakech and Casablanca. The daily haggling over food and handicrafts as the Muslim call to prayer echoed from the minarets was the reality for jews for hundreds of years. Jewish tourists come from all over the world to retrace the lives of their ancestors who played such a significant role in Morocco’s history.

Morocco was home to many great Rabbis and Kabbalists including R’Yitzchak Al-Fasi (Rif) (1013-1088), the Rambam (1160-1165), R’ Joseph Gikatila and the Ohr Ha’Chaim Ha’Kadosh (1698-1742).

In the 1492  thousands of Jews were expelled from Spain during the Inquisition. Many came to Morocco bringing their skills and creativity honed by the Andalusian period in Spain which deeply influenced Moroccan art and culture.


Jewish Menorahs Museum of Moroccan Judaism Casablanca

A good place to start for reviewing this heritage is the Jewish Museum in Casablanca which covers an area of 700 square meters, is the first of its kind in the Arab world.It contains   large multipurpose room, used for exhibitions of painting, photography and sculpture.There are three other rooms, with windows containing exhibits on religious and family life and exhibits on working life and two rooms displaying complete Moroccan synagogues. There are also libraries featuring documents,photgraphs and videos.

A visit to Casablanca’s Jewish Cemetery in the mellah is open and quiet, with well-kept white stone markers in French, Hebrew and Spanish. Once a year, Casablancans celebrate a hiloula, or prayer festival, at the tomb of the Jewish saint, Eliahou.



Temple Beth El, Casablanca

Casablanca’s 4,500 jewish community live outside the mellah in the European city, where they worship in over 30 synagogues, eat in kosher restaurants, entertain themselves in community centers, and attend Jewish schools and social service centers. Jewish Casablancans worship at Temple Beth El, the largest synagogue and an important community center, seating 500 persons.

Some Jews visit the Muslim shrine of Sidi Belyouteach year, Casablanca’s patron saint. Many Jews of Casablanca celebrate the hiloula of the saint Yahia Lakhdar in Ben Ahmed, about an hour south of Casablanca near the town of Settat.

Fez, the most complete medieval city in the world and home to the Rif (R’ Yitzchak Al-Fasi, 11th Century) and the Rambam (1160–1165). Shopping in its Medieval souks is to dive straight into ancient Morocco’s still living heritage which is also part of Morocco’s Jewish heritage as well.

The Em Ha’Banim and Ibn Danan Synagogues, t the very important large Jewish cemetery, opposite the Royal Palace (where “Solika the Righteous Woman,” the most famous woman in Jewish-Moroccan history, is buried) and the Nejjarine Fountain. We explore one of the most fascinating and famous Souks in the Moslem world with its narrow, medieval, maze-like streets and absorb the mystique of this remarkable eighth-century city,  Fez is the most ancient of the Moroccan Imperial cities, founded in 790  by Moulay Idriss II.

Meknes was once an imperial capital with impressive ramparts and had a large Jewish population and Morocco’s modern capital Rabat and Sale have interesting reminders of Jewish culture.

Marrakech, Morocco’s other imperial city has a famous mellah in the medina with its own souk with the famous Slat La’azama Synagogue .The splendid sites of Marrakech; the Badii Palace,the Bahia Palace,the Saadian tombs, the Medersa  Ben Youssef and the souks filled with handicrafts and artifacts many of which are directly descended from the work of the jewish craftsmenwho were part ofthe everyday life of the city.

Outside Marrakech in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains in the remote village of Timzerit for eight days during the holiday of Sukkot,  Jews from around the world visit this site to honour the memory of one of Morocco’s most famous rabbis. Ironically, Rabbi David U Moshe is, by legend, an Ashkenazi — an emissary from the city of Safed in the Holy Land who came to southern Morocco to raise money from local Jews. When he died suddenly , he was given a Amazigh (Berber) name — “U Moshe” means “son of Moses”.

Also,20 minutes from Marrakech on the Ouarzazate road is the tomb of Moulay Ighi (“Master of Ighi”) which is visited by jews and muslims alike.Other important shrines in the region  are Rabbi Raphael HaCohen at Achbarou,Rabbi Shlomo Ben Lhans and Rabbi Shmuel( “Abu Hatzeira”) in Erfoud cemetry. All are places are places of pilgrimagebymuslims and jews alike.

Two hours drive form Marrakech is Essaouira which was once the port of Mogador and became the main port for western imports during the reign of HassanI. This was the period of the cotton trade and Essaouira had a large population  engaged in trade, a third of the city was jewish. It is now a vibrant tourist,art and culturalcentre receiving majorfestivals like the Ganoua Music festival each year. It has manymany galleries and craft shops, Essaouira is particularly noted for its wood carving.Its Medina is a UNESCO world heritage site and the synagogue of the venerated Rabbi Chaim Pinto  is located in the Mellah.

Ouarzazate  has an important mellah close to the souk and superb kasbahs some of which were jewish in the Skoura Oasis 40 kms from Ouarzazate.

For more information about Moroccan Jewish Heritage & a Moroccan Jewish Tour in Casablanca, Morocco 

For More Information About Travel and Tours to Morocco plus highlights on Moroccan culture visit Morocco’s Imperial CitiesSeaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villagesA Taste of MoroccoMagical Kasbahs, Ruins & WaterfallsAbsolute Morocco, The Best of MarrakechFes, and Ouarzazate
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