Morocco from a Jewish Perspective
The Jewish presence in Morocco stretches back 2,500 years. There, Jews traditionally fulfilled the roles of cattle traders and businessmen. The Inquisition in Spain and Portugal led to the arrival of many Spanish Jews and the development of a unique culture and community, which numbered 300,000 Jews in its heyday. Today, only about 3,500 Jews remain in Morocco, but they are undoubtedly the largest and best-organized Jewish community in the Arab world.
The Morocco experience is both unique and impressive: breathtaking landscapes, delicious cuisine, and an amazingly hospitable population-both Jewish and Muslim.
Our journey to this wonderful country of contrasts- deserts, fertile valleys and medieval cities-will include the fabulous Royal Cities of Marrakesh, Meknes and Fes, the modern life style in Casablanca, and a glimpse into the remote world of the Atlas Mountains. Of course, our itinerary will include encounters with the remains of the once-magnificent Jewish community: ancient
market alleyways, synagogues and cemeteries, all witness to the former glory of Jewish Morocco.
- The medieval markets of Fes
- Encounters with vibrant contemporary Jewish life in Casablanca
- A visit to the famous ‘Casbah’ of Marrakech
- Accompanied by Morocco’s foremost Jewish tour educator, Rafi Elmaliah
Day 1: Casablanca, the doorway to Morocco
- Land in Casablanca and transfer to hotel – individual arrivals.
- Panoramic tour of the city and the King Hassan II Mosque.
- Welcome cocktails and dinner at a local home with guests from the city’s Jewish Community.
Day 2: Casablanca to Fes
Check out of hotel and drive by bus to Fes. This is a 4 hours’ drive with two stops en route:
- Rabat for lunch at the Marina with a local host from the Jewish community.
- Visit the Mausoleum for a Special Yizkor ceremony honoring King Mohamad. Continue to a visit of the Gardens.
- Drive to Fez the marvelously preserved medieval city that was home to prominent Jewish Rabbis and what is probably the oldest continuously operating university in the world.
- Tour of Fes outside the walls.
- Check in and Shabbat dinner at the local Jewish Community Center.
Day 3: Fes Medina
- Full day tour of the enchanting Fes Medina (Old City) – endless alleys and different markets.
- The copper beaters, weavers, snail sellers and carpet makers still ply their trades as they did a thousand years ago, when Maimonides wandered through the same narrow alleyways. Spend the morning in the Old City, accompanied by our guide, and culminating in a visit to the tanneries of the city.
- Lunch at the Le Patio Blue restaurant in the Old City market.
- Visit Jewish Fes: visit the Mellah (Jewish Quarter), the ancient *Jewish cemetery and the synagogue, today jealously guarded by its Muslim caretaker.
Free evening and optional evening performance of Andalus and traditional Moroccan music.
*not on Saturdays
Day 4: Fes to Marrakesh
- Check out of hotel and transfer to Marrakesh – 6 hours’ drive with a stopover on the way.
- Tour the Old City and Market place in Marrakesh.
- Evening tour of the world famous Djemaa El Fna market, a nightly spectacle of snake charmers, musicians and food stalls.
Day 5: Immerse yourself in Marrakesh
- Visit the Majorelle Gardens, rescued from desolation by Yves St Laurent.
- Continue into the Atlas Mountains for lunch with the Jewish Berbers, including traditional tea making.
- Dinner on own at one of a few pre-selected restaurants (Group guide will arrange for transportation to and from).
Day 6: Marrakesh to Casablanca
- After breakfast session: Muslim architecture and art.
- Visit the Sultan’s Palace and the Jewish Quarter before driving to Casablanca.
- Late evening arrival in Casablanca and free evening.
Day 7: Casablanca and the Jewish Community
- Visit a local project: the Joint Distribution Committee does invaluable work in assisting disadvantaged Jewish residents in the city.
- Jewish School (Neve Shalom) and the Bet El Synagogue.
- Lunch at the Jewish Club with local representatives of the community and with the JDC and Head of the Jewish community.
- Afternoon visit to the Wrap up session at the Jewish Museum.
- Farewell dinner
Day 8: Departure
*Itinerary is subject to change pending circumstances beyond our control*