Morocco Jewish Legacy Cultural Tour
“We have no Jews in Morocco, only Moroccans.” This was the King Mohammed V famous response to the appeal by the French Vichy regime to get a list of the Moroccan Jews for deportation. The existence of Jews in Morocco goes back to more than 2000 years with a number of 275.000 as the largest Jewish community in the Muslim world. They were and are still living peacefully with the Moroccan Muslims side by side, shop by shop, home by home, synagogue next the mosque and next to the church.This tour is not just only for mountains, desert, ocean and berber villages. This tour for all kinds including those who are eager to explore Morocco deep Jewish roots. It’s about reconnecting the Jews with their roots in the land where they were and still are largely welcomed compared to other places. It’s about Preserving Religious Diversity in the land of peace.
DAY 1 : Casablanca Airport Arrival
Welcome to your roots ! it depends upon your time of arrival, you will be driven to your hotel/Riad to loosen up and have rest. You might like to to figure out some of casablaca’s sights, the architectural masterpiece, Hassan II Mosque that completed in the 90s, overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and has a retractable roof to let in sunlight, and one of few mosque that Jews are accorded the rare opportunity to enter.
DAY 2 : Casablanca City Tour
This is your first day of pilgrimage tour of Jewish legacy in Morocco, Casablanca is a good place to start for a grounding pilgrimage tour of Jewish legacy, your most vivid memory will be of your visit to Beth El and Eim Habanim synagogues which are not the only Synagogues in Casablanca, then you move to the only Jewish museum in Islamic world, the Moroccan Judaism Museum where you’ll discover the Jewish-Berber costumes and jewelry, and you’ll find among its walls 2000-year history reflected on art, ornate clothing, religious relics and artifacts, besides a photo and video library, and rooms with partial reproductions of synagogues. This place was once, before renewing, serving as a Jewish orphanage. Carrying on our legacy discovery to the last Moroccan Jewish day school, Neve Shalom and Casablanca’s Jewish Mellah and Jewish Cemetery.You can have lunch in one of many kosher restaurant and later on at the afternoon you might like to have a drink in Tahiti Beach club that once was a local Jewish hangout.
DAY 3 : Casablanca – Azemmour – Essaouira
You’ll have much time to explore Jimi Hendrix’s town, Afternoon, when you’re in Essaouira you’re free to roam in the city that was once and still a haven for hippie backpackers and Gnawa musicians. You can start your visit by the ramparts a series of forts that were built in the 15th century around the Medina of Mogador. Inside the Medina you’ll have the chance visit the Mellah where two-thirds of the population settled in the 19 century. Each year in Sept more than 2000 Jews from all over the world meet at the grave of Rabbi Chaim Pinto who was, in the 16th century Jewish cemetery, well-known by his ability to perform miracles.
Essaouira’s port is Morocco’s 3rd fishing port where you can have a delicious fish meal. For the sports-oriented travelers, Essaouira is a place to some fine wind and kitesurfing schools
DAY 4 : Essaouira – Marrakech
If you did not get to explore the sights of Essaouira the day before, you’ll be able to do it this morning before you leave east to Marrakech. it’s highly recommended to walk through the narrow alleyways of Essaouira where you will noticed the painted houses that still have the Star of David above the doorways of Jewish houses, besides, even in its boat-lined port, look up at the symbols carved out on the harbor’s gate. A Jewish star rests inside a scallop shell often associated with Christian pilgrims, next to Islam’s symbolic crescent moon. Although the number of permanent Jewish residents has dwindled, their marks don’t fade.
Leave Essaouira after lunch and overnight stay in Marrakech
DAY 5 : Marrakech Medina Tour
DAY 6 : Marrakech – Ait Benhaddou – Ouarzazate – valley of roses – Dades gorges
Around 8:00am your driver/tour guide will pick you up from the nearest point of your hotel/Riad. Through Tizi- N’Tichka pass (2260m) in the High Atlas Mountains, you will enjoy a snaky windy road (if you get car sick have your medication), beautiful landscapes with different colors and Berber villages along the way. The first pause will be in Ait Barka village. It will be around 10:00am to take beautiful pictures and have a cup of mint tea. It’s a point to start the highest Atlas Mountains of Morocco. The second pause will take place in the top of Tizi n’Tichka arriving to Ait Benhaddou, the 11th century UNESCO-protected red mud-brick ksar that has formed the backdrop for many Hollywood movies production such as Lawrence of Arabia, Jesus of Nazareth, Gladiator, Game of Thrones and many others. Here you will also have time to explore the history of this amazing heritage. Then you will have lunch before continuing via Ouarzazate, « Ouallywood » studio and Taourirte Kasbah. Traversing the valley of roses and daggers straight to Dades gorges a rust-red and mauve mountains. A series of crumbling Kasbahs and Ksours line the valley in the Berber villages to the monkey Fingers Mountains.
DAY 7 : Dades Gorges – Todgha Gorges – Tinejdad – Erfoud – Risani – Merzouga Desert
DAY 8 : Merzouga Desert – Midelt – Ifran – Fes
DAY 9 : Fes Medina Tour
We say goodbye to city of Sophism, and drive south of Fes towards Sefrou « the little Jerusalem » as it known due to its high percentage of Jews. It was once a meeting point of traders from around the world. The town hosted among it walls the Jewish settlers present since the 13th century. Upon Morocco’s independence « Little Jerusalem’s » Mellah makes up half of the old city. If you want to discover more of the Mellah you might like to cross the Aggai’s river and walk through alleyways to get to large school, the synagogue, and a cemetery holding the tombs of important saints, merchants, and flood victims. When you finish your visit of the medina we will drive out of Fes to have a delicious local food in Lalla Fatiha’s house
In the afternoon your driver/guide will drive you towards the blue city where you’re goint to spend your night and visit it tomorrow morning
DAY 12 : Chefchaouen – Rabat
From coastal towns to the south and getting to the north, you will spend this morning in Chefchaouen before leaving to Rabat. Chefchaouen or Chaouen or the blue city as it known internationally. It was a refuge for Muslim and Jews escaping from the Spanish Reconquista. The presence of Jews remains evident in vivid blue washed-walls of each house and corner of the city. The blue color that cover the walls is a Jewish tradition of weaving prayer shawls with tekhelel (an ancient natural blue dye) representing the sky, the sea and God’s inescapable presence. In addition to this a lot of people enjoy roam arbitrary in the city.
DAY 13 : Rabat City Tour
In every inch of Morocco you can catch the footprints of Morocco’s once vibrant Jewish life in glimpses. In Rabat you will have a free day to explore the city, first through the monumental Hassan tower with the pillared stumps of its mosque being all that remains from the earthquake of 1755. There is also the near-by Mausoleum of the royal family. And do not miss to walk through the passenger ways of the Medina and Mellah to have a cup of mint tea in red Oudayas, a walled village within a city.
DAY 14 : Casablanca departure
Our trip comes to an end and we have to say “see you again” instead of “goodbye” and we hope that you spend one of your best and unforgettable tour with us.
Socoma 1, N° 17 & 18, Flat 3, 1st Floor, Marrakech – Morocco