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Jewels of Jewish Heritage Morocco

Name of Tour: Jewels of Jewish Heritage Morocco Private Tour
Explore Morocco's Jewish Heritage and culture on this remarkable private one-week tour. With a historic Jewish community that once permeated all Moroccan life, discovering Morocco on a Jewish Heritage Tour offers the opportunity to experience its rich harmonious past.
Each Imperial City in Morocco city boasts magnificent synagogues, ancient cemeteries and a Jewish Mellah where extraordinary traditions remain. Travel Exploration’s Jewels of Jewish HeritageTour is perfect for Jewish families and couples interested in a Jewish travel experience who have a limited amount of time. Our Morocco Jewish Tours can be customized to your interests offering the option to include an in depth or moderate amount of Jewish Heritage sites.
Duration: This One-week Jewish Heritage Tourof Morocco's Imperial Cities. Explore the hidden Jewels of Jewish Morocco. Morocco boasts beautiful landscapes, picturesque markets, and a Jewish community with strong ties. Discover the old Jewish quarters in Casablanca, Fes, Meknes, Marrakech & Essaouira. Jewish Services on the Sabbath and Kosher options are available upon request. 
Morocco Travel: In Viano / Luxury 4x4
English, Arabic, French Speaking Driver, Local, Expert Jewish Heritage Guides
Starting & Finishing Point: Casablanca
Travel to Morocco & Discover Remarkable Jewish Heritage sites on a private, customized tour. 
Book a Jewish Heritage Tour or call (800) 787-8806.  Let us be your guide to Private Morocco Travel.
► Visit Temple Beth- El Synagogue & Explore Museum of Moroccan Judaism in Casablanca
► Discover the Jewish Mellah of Rabat & birthplace of an 18thCentury scholar and Kabbalist in Sale  
► Attend Shabbat Services in Fes
► Dinner at a Rabbi’s Home or Kosher Restaurant
► Witness a private exterior view of the former home of Maimonidies in Fes
► Afternoon Excursion to Seffrou once referred to as the “Little Jerusalem”
► Up Close Meeting with Local Jewish Community in Morocco
► Historic Sites of Jewish Heritage in Fes, Meknes, Seffrou and Marrakech
► Explore Coastal Essaouira, an artist enclave and one of the first Jewish Ports in Morocco 
► Stays at the Best Boutique Riads and Hotels in Morocco
Day 1: Casablanca Arrival, Visit the Hassan II Mosque & Guided Jewish Heritage Tour of Casablanca, then Take the road to Rabat
Visit Casablanca's Historic Synagogues, Temple Beth-El, Temple Em Habanim and Temple Neve Shalom. Casablanca is home historically to over 17 Synagogues.
Discover one of Casablanca's most popular synagogues Temple Beth-El. Beth-El, is considered the centerpiece of a once vibrant Jewish community. Its stained glass windows in the style of Marc Chagall and other artistic elements, is what attracts travelers to this synagogue. Sunlight, tinted by stained glass, bounces off a gigantic crystal chandelier at Temple Beth-El creating thousands of shimmering rainbow mosaics on every surface. The ark, the most important thing in the synagogue, houses the Hebrew scrolls and these are dressed in exquisitely embroidered velvet mantles. The walls are inscribed with gilded quotes from the Bible and the ceiling is equally decorative. 
Visit the Ettedgui Synagogue is well appointed in the Casablanca Medina. The house of worship is located alongside the El Mellah Museum where paintings and photographs are exhibited that retrace the history of Judaism in Morocco. It was one of a dozen synagogues that received funding for restoration and that King Mohammed VI personally attended for its celebratory reopening. The original founders, the Ettedgui family were once considered part of the bourgeois community of Casablanca. The land was registered in the cadastre 1873 and carried the legacy of the “Makhzen,” with the French protectorate welcoming the construction of the synagogue in 1920. It was partly destroyed in error, during the bombing of the allies in 1942. Ettedgui was then rebuilt in the 1980s with the complete reconstruction finalized as part of the rehabilitation project of the old medina of Casablanca launched by the Sovereign in 2010.  This synagogue is steeped in history and remains a symbol of openness and of peace between Moroccan communities. 
Explore the Jewish Mellah with its historic synagogues such as Temple Bet-El, Em Habanim and Temple Neve Shalom. Enter Temple Em Habanim and the magnificently restore Temple Neve Chalom which has a small, intimate gallery featuring synagogue lamps and photographs. 
Visit the Museum of Moroccan Judaism in CasablancaThe Jewish Museum in Casablanca covers an area of 700 square meters, is the first of its kind in the Arab world. The Museum of Moroccan Judaism of Casablanca is a museum of history and ethnography, created by the Jewish Community of Casablanca in 1997 with the support of the Foundation of Jewish-Moroccan Cultural Heritage. The Jewish Museum in Casablanca is tucked into a residential neighborhood and holds a treasure trove with it being the Arab region’s only Jewish Museum. It uses world-class standards of conservation for its national and international collections. The Museum of Moroccan Judaism presents religious, ethnographic and artistic objects that demonstrate the history, religion, traditions and daily life of Jews in the context of Moroccan civilization.
Explore Casablanca’s Jewish Mellah and  Jewish Cemetery
The mellah of Casablanca is young by Moroccan standards, not much more than a century old. It assaults the senses in the evening, with a sea of women in brightly colored djellabas carrying and selling fruit and vegetables throughout the cramped, narrow streets.  While Jews no longer live in the mellah, kosher butchers are found in the old market, next to other butchers selling horsemeat. The Jewish cemetery in the mellah is open and quiet, with well-kept white stone markers in French, Hebrew and Spanish. Once a year, Casablancas celebrate a hiloula, or prayer festival, at the tomb of the Jewish saint, Eliahou.
The Jewish cemetery in the mellah is open and quiet, with well-kept white stone markers in French, Hebrew and Spanish. Once a year, Casablancas celebrate a hiloula, or prayer festival, at the tomb of the Jewish saint, Eliahou.
The 4,500 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. Beth El is the largest synagogue and an important community center, seating 500 persons.
Overnight in a Boutique Hotel in Rabat.
Day 2: Rabat Guided Jewish Heritage and Cultural Tour, then Explore Jewish Meknes & Roman Volubilis en route to Fes 
Visit the Royal Palace, the Hassan tower which stands on the hill overlooking the Wadi Bou Regreg. It is a gigantic mosque, emblematic of Rabat and famous for its unfinished minaret where storks nest. Next door, visit the beautiful Mausoleum of Mohammed V decorated with stained glass windows, white marble and a wrought-iron entryway with a stairway leading to an impressive dome. Visit the Jewish Mellah which today is now the home of very few Jewish families. 
Explore the gardens nearby and visit the Palace of Rabat and visit the Necropolis at Chellah/ Kasbah of Chellah and Kasbah Oudaya. Option to visit the seaside community in Sale, which is the birthplace of Rabbi Hayyim Ben Moses Attar. Attar was an 18th Century Kabbalist born in Morocco in 1696 and known throughout the Jewish world for his Bible commentary with mystical content.
Discover the Jewish Mellah of Rabat and it’s narrow streets which were once the home of many Jewish families. Continue to Sale, the birthplace of Rabbi Hayyim Ben Moses Attar, the renowned 18thCentury scholar and Kabbalist. He was respected throughout the Jewish world for his torah commentary referred to as the “hahayyim. Explore his grave site.
Next take the the road to for a Guided Jewish Heritage Tour of Imperial City of Meknes, "the Moroccan Versailles" and the Roman Ruins of Volubilis "Walili."
Start out with a Panoramic View of Meknes which offers a splendid look at the old Islamic Medina with its numerous tall and soaring minarets. Other sites explored include Bab El Mansour, the Meknes Stables, Hedim Square, the Thursday Gate and mosque of Moulay Ismail. 
Explore the Jewish Mellah & Quarter, with its narrow lanes and colorful courtyards. The presence of Jewish history is evident in the Hebraic epitaphs that date back to the Christian era. These epitaphs along with Greek inscriptions can be seen on the Meknes Jewish zaouia, a place of pilgrimage where the tomb of Rabbi David Benmidan still resides. 
Meknes has a historic Jewish presence. It is home to an ancient Hebraic epitaph that dates back to the Christian era. Today Greek inscriptions still remain on the synagogue where the tomb of Rabbi David Benn Imdan, “the patron of Meknes” lies. Each street named after Jewish Rabbi’s and other well-known Jews who once occupied the city. 
Eleven synagogues in total remain in Meknes of which none are currently in use daily. You may visit 1-2 during your guided Jewish Heritage Tour of Meknes along with the local Cemetery and a Jewish School.
Continue to the Roman City of Volubilis. Begin your visit by discovering the fascinating Roman ruins adorned with beautiful mosaics and colorful tiles depicting Roman mythology. The ruins are spread out across several acres and what remain visible are several fragments of wall, parts of massive columns, the capitol, the basilica and a triumphal arch. The ruins reveal how the Roman Empire transformed the original Carthaginian settlement into a typical Roman city complete with mansions, a town center, a triumphal arc and temples devoted to the Roman gods.  Commence your visit in Volubilis, and then take the road to Fes.
Overnight at a Boutique Hotel or Riad in Fes.
Day 3: Fes Guided Jewish Heritage Tour & Exploration of UNESCO World Heritage Sites 
Jewish History of Fes & Historic Fes El Bali
Fes (referred to as Fes El Bali) is among the best known cities in medieval Jewish history. Fes is the leading spiritual center and the former artistic and intellectual capital in Morocco well respected for its former historic and significant population that celebrated Jewish life. It was once the home of Rabbi Isaac Alfasi, the most influential Talmudic scholars of all times. Founded by Moulay Idriss in the eighth century, Fes is the leading spiritual center and the former artistic, intellectual capital in Morocco. Well respected for its historic significance and its former Jewish population, who openly celebrated Jewish life, Fes is a must see city for all Jewish travelers. The name of Fes has its origins in the word pickaxe (hand tool) which legends say Idriss of Morocco used in silver or gold to create the boundaries of the old city. 
During this Guided Jewish Heritage and Culture Tour of UNESCO Fes you will visit Jewish Heritage Sites and Cultural Sites of Fes that combine site seeing at Synagogues, Medival Universities, Mosques, Cemeteries, a Children's School, the Mellah along with gardens and palaces. Your guide will offer a connective link between Muslim and Jewish Morocco.
The Jewish MellahIn contrast with the young Mellah of Casablanca, the mellah of Fes is over 650 years old. This picturesque neighborhood adjoins the royal palace, noted for its recently constructed bright brass doors. Jews took shelter in this palace during the 1912 pogrom.
The Jewish Cemetery: The nearby cemetery contains the tombs of more Jewish saints than any other cemetery in Morocco. One of the more important saints is Solica, who was killed for refusing to convert to Islam.
Maimonides:Throughout the old city of Fes, there are traces of ancient Jewish life, including the home of Maimonides, who lived in the city from 1159-1165. Suffering from the persecutions of the Almohad dynasty, Maimonides emigrated to escape forced conversion.  In the face of a declining population, the Jewish community of Fes is working hard to maintain its community spirit and preserve its heritage and traditions. The community center, Centre Communautaire "Maimonide," is one of the most well organized in Morocco, with a kosher restaurant and modern synagogue on the premises 
The Danan Synagogue: The Danan synagogue was once only one of several inside the walls of Fes, and not the most elaborate. TheI Ibn Danan Synagogue is one of the oldest and most intact synagogues in Morocco. This synagogue, located in the heart of the mellah (Jewish quarter), is a rare survivor of a pivotal time in Moroccan Jewish history.
Synagogues of Fes Unmarked on their exteriors - dating from the 17th century: among the most unique in the world. The Mellah of Fes once had 40 synagogues. See the vast and picturesque whitewashed Jewish cemetery adjacent to the gates to the Royal Palace and the nascent Jewish Museum at the Em HaBanim synagogue. 
Old Medina Muslim Sites & Shopping in Fes: University of Al-Karaouine, Zaouia Moulay Idriss II , Dar Batha, Weavers Cooperative 
Overnight in a Boutique Hotel in Fes.
Day 4: Fes Guided Excursion to Jewish Seffrou  
Visit Seffrou, the capital of cherries. Sefrou, south of Fes, was known as Little Jerusalem due to its high percentage of Jews and its well-developed religious life. Upon Morocco's independence, a rabbi from Sefrou was elected to Parliament. Sefrou's mellah makes up half of the old city.
En route to Sefrou make a short stop to visit Bhalil a cemetery
Sefrou was once a major center for Morocco's Jews and its walled white pedestrian medina is still characterized by their houses with wooden balconies. 
A good example of interfaith dialogue in Morocco can be witnessed in the city of SefrouIn Sefrou lived Muslims and Jews in good harmony door to door and practiced their religious rituals in unison. 
Afternoon Option Gardens & Palaces of Fes:
Jnane Sbil Gardens: Batha Museum & Andalusian Garden
, Bou Inania Medersa 
Overnight in Fes.
Day 5: Fes Departure to Marrakech via Ifrane & Beni Mellal  
Take the road to Marrakech.
En route stop to see the view of Ifrane University and go for a short walk around the garden. Ifrane is nick named “Little Switzerland” of Morocco for its architecture, cedar forest and winter ski resort options. Developed by the French during the protectorate era for their administration due to its Alpine climat, this Moroccan town has a remarkable European style, as if it were an Alpine village. Because of its elevation, the town experiences snow during the winter months and a cool climate during the summer.
Many refer to Ifrane as once the capital of the Jewish Kingdom in Morocco. Visit the synagogues and cemeteries which have been the epicenter for Jewish pilgrimages for centuries. 
Enjoy coffee, tea and pastries in Ifrane at an outdoor cafe.
Make a short stop in Zaouia Cheikh. This is one of the 30 damns that are scheduled to be built in Morocco by 2030. The idea originating with Hassan II to build one dam a year to irrigate the country is being carried on by the current King Mohammed VI.
Lunch at Hotel Paris in Beni Mellal.
Overnight at a Boutique Hotel or Riad in Marrakech.
Day 6: Marrakech Guides Historical Tour, City Visit, Yves Saint Laurent Gardens & Berber Museum, UNESCO Sites & Jewish Heritage Sites  
Visit Marrakech’s Gardens, Palaces, and Jewish Heritage Sites.
The Yves Saint Laurent Majorelle Gardens & Berber Museum
Visit the Majorelle Gardens. The Majorelle Gardens, previously the Jardin Bou Saf, bears its name from its original creator, Jacques Majorelle, the French expatriate artist who was born in Nancy, France, in 1886. Jacques Majorelle was the son of the celebrated Art Nouveau furniture designer Louis Majorelle. In 1947, the son opened his gardens to the public and, during this time, also painted a magnificent ceiling at La Mamounia, a five-star hotel with exquisite gardens and the place where Alfred Hitchcock wrote The Birds. Jacques Majorelle studied at the École des Beaux Arts in Nancy in 1901 and in 1919 went to Marrakech to recover from heart problems. He built the garden during those years, using a special blue color that he used extensively in the garden and that is named after him, Majorelle blue. Majorelle returned to France in 1962 after a car incident and died later that year of complications from his injuries.
Berber Museum in Marrakech. Formerly known as the Islamic Museum of Art, this new museum was renamed and launched with proper historical provenance to honor the Berber people and their traditions. As the Berbers are the original inhabitants of Morocco and were driven in the mountains in the 7th Century by Arabs from Yemen, having as much of their history and costume on display pays a long standing homage essential to those discovering Moroccan history. With over 600 objects in the Berber Museum ranging from the Rif to the Sahara this offers visitors a compelling panorama on Berber culture. The renovation of the Berber Museum was carried out by Christophe Martin with musicologist, Bjorn Dahlstrom.  
Yves Saint Laurent Museum: A museum entirely devoted to the work of the legendary fashion designer, Yves Saint Laurent. The museum is situated on Rue Yves Saint Laurent and adjacent to the renowned Jardin Majorelle, spans over 4,000 m² and is more than just a museum. Designed by Studio KO, it features a 400 m² permanent exhibition space where the work of Yves Saint Laurent is presented in a scenography by Christophe Martin. The museum has a boutique, bookshop, a café-restaurant, as well as a research library comprising 5,000 volumes.
The Old Spice Market: The Rahba Kedima is a colorful market filled with a wide array of spices from Cumin, Cinnamon, Saffron, Dried Pepper and more.
The Jewish Mellah: Founded in 1558 by Moulay Abdallah, the Mellah district was designated as the Jewish quarter in Marrakech. 
El Bahia Palace: The El Bahia Palace in Marrakech is a beautiful building and an excellent example of Eastern Architecture from the 19th century that represents trends and standards of the wealthy that lived at that time. 
Visit theMarrakech Lazama Synagogue in the old medina. This Quarter was created in the Kasbah area in 1558. The Jewish community enjoyed autonomy even though Jews weren't allowed to own any property outside the Mellah and controlled the sugar trade. There are approximately 250 Jews still living in Marrakech, and most live outside the Medina.
Visit Synagogue Bet-El, Impasse Des Moulins (Centre American) - Gueliz.
Rabbi Hanania Hacohen Cemetery. Tour the Rabbi Hanania Hacohen Cemetery, the place of burial for Rabbi Mordekhai Ben Attar and Rabbi Pinhas Hacohen Azough, where the “patron of Marrakech” resides.
The Saadian Tombs: The Saadian tombs in Marrakech date back from the time of the sultan Ahmad al-Mansur (1578-1603). The tombs were only recently discovered (in 1917) and were restored by the Beaux-arts service. The mausoleum comprises the corpses of about sixty members of the Saadi Dynasty that originated in the valley of the Draa River. 
Sunset Cocktails at La Mamounia Gardens where Alfredy Hitchcock wrote "The Birds" Built in 1929 this famous historical landmark hotel and gardens in the center of Marrakech is cared for by 40 gardeners who two times a year plant 60,000 annuals 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 200 year-old avenue of olive trees leads one to the garden pavilion where you can soak in the peace and solitude with a cup of Moroccan mint tea.  
Day 7: Excursion to Coastal Essaouira for a Guided Jewish Heritage Tour
Depart for Seaside Essaouira, a seaside fishing town known for it’s Portuguese and Jewish History along with hand painted charming blue, white and yellow painted houses, fresh seafood and artist community. Locals call this magical coastal enclave "Souira"
Essaouira’s charming artist colony that boasts lovely whitewashed and blue-shuttered houses, colonnades, thuya wood workshops, art galleries and mouthwatering seafood. Once called Mogador by European sailors and traders, Essaouria is known for its annual Gnaoua Music Festival that attracts 300,000+ people in June. It also has an expansive beach for surfing called Plage de Safi.
Many of Essaouira’s painted houses still have the Star of David above the doorways of Jewish homes. Each year religious Jews from around the world come to Essaouira for an annual pilgrimage to visit the grave of Rabbi Haim Pinto who passed on in 1845. The hiloula celebrating Rabbi Haim Pinto is held each September.
On your Guided Jewish Heritage Tour of Essaouira you will explore the crumbling Jewish Quarter which was established in the eighteenth century by Alaouite Sultan Sidi Mohamed ben Abdellah within the sixteenth century fortress. As Essaouira became a trading prot a Jewish Quarter called the Mellah was created. At that time Jews made up 40% of the city's population. The town once had over 30 Jewish Synagogues of which few remain today. 
Essaouira's last Jews left to France and Canada following the Six Day War in 1967. The Jews who remain today in Essaouira are those buried in its two cemeteries  The Jewish Mellah and its citzens played an essential role in Essaouira's economic development as Jews did in all Moroccan cities.
Essaouira's Jewish Synagogues & Cemeteries: Discover Essaouira's Jewish synagogues, cemteries, the Mellah and also have the opportunity to enjoy a tea with Joseph Sebag, one of the last remaining Jews who is the leader of the community. 
Visit the recently renovated and newly inaugurated Essaouira Bet Ha-Knesset Simon Attias Simon Attias Synagogue. Simon Attias was built in 1882 on Rue Laalouj in the Kasbah, just beside the former British consulate. The synagogue was originally located on the second floor. The ground floor once held shops. The third floor contained the offices of Jewish courts, which heard both commercial and personal cases. The interior of the synagogue is ordained with its originally preserved wood work which was carved in London. The large, wooden Torah Ark featured columns and a rounded pediment, and is decorated with floral carvings. Today the Simon Attias synagogue is two-stories high, with large, rounded-arch windows with a Jewish Museum and a future cultural center. Once complete the Jewish Cultural Center will bear the name of the contemporary historian Haim Zafrani, originating from the city, guaranteeing the preservation of Moroccan Jewish heritage and helping to strengthen the national identity of the country.
Next visit Rabbi Haim Pinto's former home and the synagogue in the Jewish Mellah which has been preserved as a historic and religious site. The building is an active synagogue, used when pilgrims or Jewish tour groups visit the city.
While a generation ago there were Jewish inhabitants in Essaouira today there is just one left named Joseph Sebag. Sebag's family has been in Morocco since they fled Spain during the time of the Spanish Inquisition. Sebag owns a small antique and brick-a-back store where one can always find Jewish and non Jewish visitors enjoying a cup of mint tea along a conversation with Jospeh. 
Today, there are a number of Jewish other Jewish sites which can be visited and/or are under renovation in Essaouira. Essaouira’s two Jewish cemeteries are open to visitors by calling the number of the guardian posted on the door. The older of the two is only separated from the sea by a wall and is regularly inundated. It features the mausoleum of Rabbi Haim Pinto (1748–1845), which is the subject of a hilloul a(pilgrimage) every Fall. The graves are often laid on top of each other and the inscriptions are no longer legible. All that remains are circular or triangular symbols indicating whether the occupant was male or female.
The ‘new’ Jewish cemetery, across the street, was opened in the 18th century to accommodate the growing population. It is the final resting place of a number of rabbis, intellectuals and musicians as well as many of the ‘ordinary’ residents of Essaouira-Mogador. The cemetery tells the stories of many great families of Mogador such as the Corcos, the most famous of the original ‘Sultan’s merchants’ and the Yuly and Levy families – some of whom are certainly ancestors of the first Jewish US senator, David Levy Yulee.

Overnight in Marrakech.
Day 8: Departure to Casablanca or Marrakech's Menara Airport
Departure from your riad to meet your flight
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