We invite you to join a once-in-a-lifetime discovery of Morocco through its Jewish Heritage, a tale of times gone by and of which the beauty still lingers. The Jewish community in Morocco dates back to 587 BCE and ever since then, Sephardic traditions have been proud components of Moroccan culture. The memory of such heritage is treasured in a variety of ways from the historic Jewish neighborhoods in Rabat and Fes to the synagogues that are still active in Marrakech, Essaouira, and Casablanca. Celebrate Morocco’s exotic atmosphere, delicious cuisine, beautiful landscapes, and picturesque souqs, as they tie in with great Jewish traditions and community.
The synagogues, cemeteries, monuments and communal institutions of Casablanca show how important the city has been to the Jewish community during the twentieth century. Casablanca is also home to some of Morocco’s richest nightlife and we’ll make sure to show you around its vibrant atmosphere.
Navigate the winding alleyways of the Chellah and Kasbah of Oudayas, were sky-blue houses and Mediterranean gardens meet the lingering memory of Sephardic traditions. Then visit the Mellah and its lively courtyards, where many Jewish families are settled. The region is also home to Rabbi Hayyim Ben Moses Attar, the famous 18th century scholar and cabbalist.
Fes is very rich in medieval Jewish history and at one time, the Mellah housed over 10,000 people and 40 synagogues. The city was the home of one of the all time's most influential Talmudic scholars, Rabbi Isaac Alfasi, as well as of Maimonides in the years 1160 to 1165. Key highlights of Fes include a walking tour of the old Medina where you can visit local craftsmen in their workshops as they weave, embroider and carve with techniques unchanged for centuries.
Known for its imposing imperial doors, Meknes is also a site of importance for Moroccan Jews. The heart of the city houses eight synagogues proudly adorned by Hebrew epitaphs from The 19th Century. The medina also features a display of ancient handcrafted Torahs and Talmuds.
With its ancient and colorful Jewish quarter, the town of Tinghir offers you a glimpse into Ancestral Moroccan Jewry. Take a 4X4 ride to Merzouga for a sunset over the dunes, a berber dinner and overnight in bivouac, or return back to Erfoud for dinner and overnight at your comfy hotel room.
Marrakech combines two pulsating cities into one - where modern culture sits just the other side of 11th Century walls. The city tour will include the former and current synagogues within the mellah, and Jema El Fna Square, which houses an array of food, snake charmers, local live music performers and fortune-tellers.
Essaouira is widely-known for its windswept beaches, but we also celebrate this seaside village for its multicultural history. Home to Rabbi Haim Pinto, Essaouira’s Jewish legacy can be felt through its well-preserved synagogue, a historic and religious site dating back to the early 18th century. Revel in the charm of Essaouira’s hand painted houses, take in the fresh seafood from the port, and roam around the many artist galleries that dot the city’s medina.
A Mellah (From Hebrew מלח or "salt") is the traditional Jewish quarter in a Moroccan city, surrounded by a fortified gateway. Jewish population took residence in Mellahs in the 15th century. With the arrival of the Europeans at the end of the 19th century, the Mellahs opened the gateways to new economical and social possibilities for the Moroccan Jews. To this day, Mellahs feature Kosher shops and restaurants, as well as craftsmen’s institutions passed on from generation to generation.
The Casablanca’s Beth-El synagogue is considered the centerpiece of a once vibrant Jewish community. Its stained glass windows and other artistic elements are a special testimony of Jewish Moroccan architecture. The Temple was fully renovated in 1997.
Tucked into a quiet residential neighborhood of Casablanca, this museum holds a treasure trove of religious, ethnographic and artistic objects that demonstrate the history, traditions and daily life of Jews in Morocco.
In the Ourika Valley village of Aghbalou, about a 30-minute drive of Marrakech, is the 500 year-old tomb of Solomon Bel-Hench, revered chief rabbi of Marrakech. Thousands of visitors visit the tomb annually, paying tribute to the ancient sage.
Built and founded by the Ibn Danan family, this synagogue and it’s mellah, located at the back of the building, used to be the largest in Morocco and once served a population of over 22,000 Sephardic devotees. The synagogue retains its notable interiors and original furnishings to this day.
The earliest epigraphic presence of Jews in Morocco comes from the Second Century C.E. It consists essentially of inscriptions on tombstones found in the ruins of the Roman town of Volubilis, between Fez and Meknès, and another inscription discovered in Salé. The latter is in Greek, while one of the inscriptions of Volubilis is in Hebrew.
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