Morocco Jewish heritage tour
Morocco is a popular destination for travelers of various types, including those interested in learning more about the country’s rich Morocco Jewish heritage tour legacy.
NEW YORK (AP) — Morocco is a pleasure for vacationers of all kinds, especially those interested in the kingdom’s deep Jewish heritage, with its mountains and desert, beach resorts, and Berber communities.
Morocco’s Jewish heritage trip dates back over 2,000 years. Prior to the establishment of Israel in 1948, they were estimated to number at 275,000, making them the largest Jewish community in the Muslim world, according to Roy Mittelman, head of the Jewish Studies Program at City College. NEW YORK CITY.
Today, despite massive waves of exodus over the years, only approximately 2,000 Jews remain in Casablanca and roughly 500 in other regions of Morocco, but the Jewish presence is still present in many places. For example, the Museum of Moroccan Judaism in a Casablanca suburb is the Arab world’s only Judaism museum.
Jews of Moroccan heritage frequently return to the North African monarchy, and some have second homes in family locations. There are various and simple Jewish historical tours in Morocco. Most towns have an old Jewish quarter, as well as Jewish cemeteries and synagogues.
In an advanced class, Mittelman, who has spent 40 years immersing himself in Jewish history, culture, and religious traditions in Morocco, accompanies groups of students on visits of Jewish landmarks. He stated that there is a lot to read before visiting.
For additional information regarding pre-colonial Morocco, he suggests Shlomo Dessens’ The Mella Society: Jewish Community Life in Sheriff Morocco, which is based on the writings of Jewish Moroccan sages from the 18th and 19th century.
To discover more about the spiritual history of Marrakech’s Jewish neighborhood, he recommends Voices of Marrakech: A Record of a Visit by Bulgarian Jewish writer Elias Canetti. Mittelman has refined his trip plans over the years.
The only Moroccan Jewish day school, Neve Shalom, is located in Casablanca, the kingdom’s commercial and business center. Inquire with director Jacky Sebbag. Watch the kids play in the courtyard, listen to them sing Jewish songs, and learn more about the school’s Hebrew classes and Bible study, added Mittelman.
Visit the Tahiti Beach Club, which was previously a popular hangout for local Jews.
Among Mittelman’s walking tours of Casablanca’s Jewish neighborhoods are stops to Beth El and Eim Habanim synagogues. There is also a newer synagogue, David Ha-Melech, near the beach club in Toni, a seaside district of Corniche.
Like other cities, Casablanca offers a classic kosher bakery and kosher eateries.
There are about 100 Jews left in Marrakech, including a few in the historic Jewish district, although the mellah is raucous, according to Mittelman.
Among the remaining synagogues in the modest blue-and-white Lazama along a short street. Ask a local for directions. Visitors are charged a nominal price to enter. There is a lovely riad-style courtyard with a fruit tree and few chairs for tired tourists.
The original synagogue was established in 1492, although it was renovated subsequently. According to the Muslim synagogue handbook, the Torah scrolls in the synagogue were written on gazelle parchment. Lazamas Mikveh, an ancient Jewish ceremonial bath that descends twisting stone stairs, is visible to visitors.
Mella is not the only site where synagogues may be found. Sabbath services at Temple Beth El Synagogue are held in a new area of Geliz with a significant European influence. Any cab driver should be able to get you there.
The little town of Anonim, two hours south of Marrakech, was once home to the enigmatic rabbi and healer Wazana.
Visit a Jewish historical tour in Morocco attractions in Essaouira, once a major Jewish hub and old Portuguese fishing town, for another day excursion from Marrakech. It was also a stop for 1960s and 1970s rock stars on their way to Marrakech. The village, built in the 1700s, features a synagogue, cemetery, and retail center, with signs pointing to buildings that originally housed old, long-gone synagogues.
The tomb of Holy Rabbi Chaim bin Diwan, located slightly over an hour south of Marrakech, is Mittelman’s main attraction. Jews still congregate at this place in the high Atlas Mountains, near Anhaz, in the village of Tagadirt Nbour, for the customary celebration of his hilula.
Mittelman leads groups of people up the hill to have a picnic near the tomb.
This is where we make our pilgrimage. You can see the mountains surrounding you and hear the wind blowing through them. He described it as a fantastic experience.
In the 17th century, the city had a considerable Jewish community, as well as the famed Ibn Danan Orthodox synagogue. It was once in ruins, but it was renovated in the 1990s with assistance from the World Monuments Fund and American Express. King Mohammed VI promised to restore Jewish monuments in Morocco.
The mela is a maze within the fortifications here. You get lost, which is half the pleasure. This was Morocco’s earliest mela, dating back to 1438.
Aside from the Jewish cemetery, where two important medieval rabbis are buried, Fez boasts a sacred spot for women, the tomb of Solika. Solika was a Jewish woman of remarkable beauty who was murdered in 1834 for refusing to adopt Islam, according to one version.
From 1159 to 1165, Maimonides, one of the most prolific and renowned Torah scholars of the Middle Ages, lived in Fez. His stone building, with worn carvings, is worth a visit.
Within the Glushes.
If you favor this type of travel, Mittelman says you should have no trouble identifying Jewish impact and history in tiny towns and villages.
Find your first 80-year-old man and tell me if you recall the Jews who used to live here. They’re likely to answer yes, so here are their names and the dilapidated house where they used to dwell.
A 10-day Jewish Heritage Tour through Morocco, including Synagogues and Communities
This tour is both fun and educational for first-time tourists to Morocco who are interested in Jewish heritage. Historic synagogues, holy tombs, appealing markets, spice souks, stunning vistas, and Andalusian gardens are all worthwhile visits. Visit the African Jewish Museum, the Muslim world’s only one. Attend Jewish services and Shabbat meal at a historic Jewish house on the Sabbath. This genuine 10-day Jewish Heritage Tour in Morocco provides the best Jewish vacation experiences.
ABOUT THE JEWISH HERITAGE TOUR IN MOROCCO: A PRIVATE TRAVEL EXPERIENCE OF 10 DAYS
Morocco’s cultural diversity reflects the country’s historical role as a crossroads between Europe and the rest of the world. Morocco’s Jewish Heritage allows visitors to learn about ancient historical traditions, customs, architecture, monuments, and sites that have long been a part of Moroccan society. Travel Exploration’s Jewish Heritage Morocco Tour is intended for discriminating travellers. This tour includes stops at historic synagogues, cemeteries, architectural structures, and the region’s natural surroundings, as well as opportunity to attend Jewish Shabbat services and eat at a Rabbi’s residence.
Itinerary for the tour
Day 1: Arrival in Casablanca, guided city tour, and Jewish Heritage Site Tour
Arrival at Casablanca’s Mohammed V Airport. Kosher Restaurant in Casablanca for dinner. Visit the Jewish Synagogue, Temple, in Casablanca. Beth-El. Beth-El is recognized as the beating center of what was once a thriving Jewish community. Tourists come to see the stained glass windows and other artistic aspects of this synagogue. Visit Temple Em Habanim and Neve Chalom if time allows.
Day 2: Explore Casablanca’s Jewish heritage before heading to Rabat.
Visit the Moroccan Judaism Museum in Casablanca. The Jewish Museum in Casablanca is the Arab world’s first of its kind, encompassing 700 square meters. The Museum of Moroccan Judaism in Casablanca is a history and ethnography museum built in 1997 by the Jewish Community of Casablanca with sponsorship from the Foundation of Jewish-Moroccan Cultural Heritage. Casablanca’s Jewish Museum, the Arab region’s only Jewish Museum, is tucked away in a residential neighborhood and is a treasure trove. Its national and international collections are kept in world-class condition. The Museum of Moroccan Judaism displays religious, anthropological, and artistic artifacts that depict Moroccan Jews’ history, faith, traditions, and daily lives.
Day 3: On the way to Fes, stop in Rabat for a guided historical tour and a city tour.
Continue on to Meknes and the Volubilis Roman Ruins after visiting Rabat.
Visit the Royal Palace and the Hassan Tower, which sits on a hilltop overlooking the Wadi Bou Regreg. It is a huge mosque that represents Rabat and is famous for its unfinished minaret, which is home to storks. Visit Mohammed V’s magnificent Mausoleum, which boasts stained glass windows, white marble, and a wrought-iron entryway with a stairway leading to an incredible dome just next door. Visit the Jewish Mellah, which is now home to only a few Jewish families.
Visit the Palace of Rabat, the Necropolis of Chellah, and the Kasbahs of Chellah and Oudaya, as well as the surrounding gardens. Option to visit the birthplace of Rabbi Hayyim Ben Moses Attar, the coastal village of Sale. Attar was an 18th-century Moroccan Kabbalist who was well-known across the Jewish community for his mystical Bible exegesis.
Travel to Meknes’ Imperial City, known as “the Moroccan Versailles,” and Volubilis’ Roman Ruins, known as “Walili.”
Discover the Jewish Mellah & Quarter, complete with twisting streets and lively courtyards. The significance of Jewish history can be seen in Christian-era Hebraic epitaphs. These epitaphs, as well as Greek inscriptions, may be seen on the Meknes Jewish zaouia, a pilgrimage site that still contains Rabbi David Benmidan’s grave.
Meknes has a long Jewish tradition. There is an antique Hebraic epitaph from the Christian era there. The grave of Rabbi David Benn Imdan, known as the “Patron of Meknes,” is commemorated by Greek inscriptions on the synagogue. Every street in the city is named after great Jewish Rabbis and other prominent Jews who once resided there.
There are eleven synagogues in Meknes, none of which are now operational. 1-2, as well as the local cemetery and a Jewish school, may be seen during your guided Jewish Heritage Tour in Meknes.
Tour of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and Jewish Heritage Sites in Fes on Day 4
Visit Jewish and Muslim Historic Sites in Fes: On this UNESCO Fes guided historical tour, you will see Synagogues, Universities, Mosques, Cemeteries, the Mellah, gardens, and palaces, as well as Jewish Heritage Sites and Cultural Sites. Your tour guide will act as a liaison between Moroccan Muslims and Jews.
Day 5 Fes Guided Excursion to Jewish Seffrou
Visit Sefrou, the cherry capital of the world. Sefrou, south of Fes, was dubbed “Little Jerusalem” due to its large Jewish population and active religious life. Following Morocco’s independence, a rabbi from Sefrou was elected to Parliament. Sefrou’s mellah encompasses half of the historic city.
Make a brief stop en route to Sefrou to explore the cemetery of Bhalil.
Sefrou was was a major center for Moroccan Jews, and you can still see their buildings with wooden balconies in the walled white pedestrian medina.
Sefrou, Morocco, is a good example of interfaith cooperation. Muslims and Jews coexisted in Sefrou, performing their respective ceremonies in unison.
Day 6: Departure from Fes to Marrakech via Ifrane and Beni Mellal.
Travel by road to Marrakech.
Take a break along the way to see the view of Ifrane University and stroll through the garden. Ifrane is renowned as Morocco’s “Little Switzerland” because of its architecture, cedar forest, and winter ski resort possibilities. This Moroccan town has a wonderful European appearance, as if it were an Alpine settlement, and was constructed for French rule during the protectorate era due to its Alpine climate. Because of its elevation, the town sees snow in the winter and a cool climate in the summer.
Visit an outdoor cafe in Ifrane for coffee, tea, and pastries.
Spend some time in Zaouia Cheikh. This is one of 30 dams that Morocco intends to build by 2030. The current King Mohammed VI is following on Hassan II’s vision of building one dam a year to irrigate the country.
Beni Mellal’s Hotel Paris serves lunch.
Spend the night in a boutique hotel or riad in Marrakech.
Day 7: Historical Tour, City Tour, Yves Saint Laurent Gardens, and Berber Village
Museums, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and Jewish Heritage Sites with Marrakech Tour Guides
Visit Marrakech’s Gardens, Palaces, and Jewish Heritage Sites.
Day 8: Marrakech Day at Leisure – Exploration of La Mamounia Gardens and Hammam/ Spa Experience
La Mamounia Gardens
This famous historical landmark hotel and gardens in Marrakech, built in 1929, are maintained by 40 gardeners who plant 60,000 annuals twice a year to enhance the grounds as well as maintain the immaculately mowed grass under the citrus and olive orchards, desert garden, rose garden, and tropical garden, as well as the many fountains. The olive tree avenue, which dates back 200 years, leads to the garden pavilion, where you may relax and unwind while enjoying Moroccan mint tea.
Benchaabane’s Abderrazzak Palmeraie Gardens & Museum
Abderrazzak Benchaabane is a Marrakech legend. This well-known Garden Designer, Ethnobotanist, Perfumer, Teacher, Photographer, Writer, and Publisher is soft-spoken and unassuming. Benchaabane’s private collection of Moroccan modern and contemporary art is housed on the property in converted stables and other structures.
Spend the night in a boutique hotel or riad in Marrakech.
Day 9: Marrakech Excursion to Coastal Essaouira and Jewish Heritage Sites in Essaouira
Leave towards the beach. Essaouira is a seaside fishing town known for its Portuguese and Jewish past, hand-painted blue, white, and yellow houses, delicious seafood, and a strong artist community.
Essaouira’s appealing artist district features beautiful whitewashed and blue-shuttered houses, colonnades, thuya wood crafts, art galleries, and exquisite seafood. Essaouria is well-renowned for the annual GnaouaMusicFestival, which draws 300,000+ visitors each June, and was originally known as Mogador by European sailors and traders. It also has a major surfing beach called Plage de Safi.
Many of Essaouira’s painted houses still have the Star of David over the doorways of Jewish residences. Every year, religious Jews from all over the world travel to Essaouira for an annual pilgrimage to the grave of Rabbi Haim Pinto, who died in 1845. Every September, a hiloula honoring Rabbi Haim Pinto is held.
The residence and synagogue of Rabbi Haim Pinto have been preserved as historical and religious landmarks. The edifice serves as a working synagogue for pilgrims and Jewish tour groups visiting the city.
A generation ago, there were Jewish residents in Essaouira, but now there is just one living Jew, Joseph Sebag, whose relatives fled Spain with other Jewish families during the Spanish Inquisition. Jacky Kadoch is the president of Essaouira’s Jewish community.
Explore Essaouira’s main Jewish Heritage sites, such as the Attia Synagogue (House of Memory), the Haim Pinto Synagogue, Bayt Dakira, the Jewish Mellah, and the Old Jewish Cemetery, which has cubist and Amazigh tombstones.
Departure from Marrakech on Day 10
Departure from Casablanca or Marrakech airports.