Jewish Heritage Tour

10 Days

A Jewish Heritage Tour in Morocco can only be started after introducing the history of Moroccan Jews in Morocco, which dates back more than 2000 years. They have played an important role in the cultural, economic, and social fabric of the country. Moroccan Jews contributed to different aspects of Moroccan society and maintained a distinct identity while living in harmony with their Muslim and Christian compatriots.

Jewish Heritage Tour

The Jewish presence in Morocco

Jewish Heritage Tour - The Jewish presence in Morocco

The Jewish presence in Morocco existed before the advent of Islam in the seventh century. Jewish communities flourished under Islamic rule, enjoying periods of tolerance, protection, and prosperity. They also coexisted with the Muslims and engaged in trade, agriculture, crafts, and other professions. Also, Jewish merchants played an important role in the trans-Saharan trade routes, which strengthened economic relations between Morocco and other regions.

Merging Jewish religious practices with Moroccan customs

Over time, Moroccan Jews developed their own unique traditions and rituals, fusing Jewish religious practices with local Moroccan customs. This blending of cultures can also be seen in the distinctive music, cuisine, and art that emerged from the Moroccan Jewish community. For example, the Andalusian music of Moroccan Jews reflects the influence of both the Arab and Jewish Sephardic musical traditions.

Jews in the late fifteenth century in Morocco

In the late 15th century, Spain expelled its Jewish population during the Spanish Inquisition. As many Sephardic Jews sought refuge in Morocco, this further enriched the local Jewish community. This influx of Sephardic Jews also had a lasting impact on Moroccan Jewish culture and also produced new effects on Moroccan society as a whole.

Jews during World War II in Morocco

During World War II, Morocco was under French colonial rule, with the Vichy government implementing anti-Semitic policies. However, King Mohammed V resisted these measures and protected his Jewish subjects, as well as earning the respect and gratitude of the Jewish community. Morocco also remained a safe haven for Jews during the war, and after the liberation of France, Jewish refugees from Europe found solace in the country.

Jews after the independence of Morocco

After Morocco became independent in 1956, many Moroccan Jews chose to emigrate, primarily to Israel, France, and the United States. The establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 also contributed to the emigration of Moroccan Jews seeking to build a new life in the homeland of their ancestors. Today, the majority of Moroccan Jews reside outside of Morocco, but the community continues to maintain strong ties to their Moroccan heritage.

The situation of the Jews in recent years in Morocco

In recent years, Morocco has taken steps to preserve and enhance its Jewish heritage. The government has restored and maintained temples, tombs, and historical sites, recognizing the importance of these cultural attractions. In addition, Jewish holidays and events are celebrated alongside Islamic holidays, promoting an atmosphere of religious tolerance and coexistence.

Moroccan Jews have made notable contributions in various fields, including politics, business, the arts, and academia. Prominent Moroccan Jews have also served as government officials, artists, writers, and businessmen, leaving a lasting impact on Moroccan society and beyond.

Jewish Heritage Tour - The situation of the Jews in recent years in Morocco

Declining Jewish population in Morocco

While Morocco’s Jewish population has declined significantly over the years, the country’s Jewish heritage remains an integral part of its multicultural fabric. The presence of Moroccan Jews has left an indelible mark on the country’s history and continues to shape its cultural diversity. The legacy of Moroccan Jews stands as a testament to the enduring coexistence of Morocco’s various religious and cultural communities.

What are the Moroccan cities in which Moroccan Jews are concentrated?

Moroccan Jews have historically been present in various cities throughout Morocco, but over time, their population has decreased significantly. Today, there are a few major Moroccan cities where the remaining Jewish community is concentrated. These cities include:

1. Casablanca:

Casablanca is home to the largest Jewish community in Morocco. It has a rich Jewish history and is famous for its beautiful synagogues, including the famous Bethel Temple. The city’s Jewish community is actively involved in religious, cultural, and social activities.

2. Marrakech:

Marrakesh has a smaller but lively Jewish community. The city was once home to a large Jewish population, and evidence of their presence can be found in Mellah, the historic Jewish quarter. The Lazama Synagogue, located in Mellah, is a prominent synagogue in Marrakesh.

3. Rabat:

The capital of Morocco, Rabat, also has a Jewish community, although it is relatively smaller compared to Casablanca. Rabat is famous for the Shura Synagogue, which is a place of worship and communal gathering for local Jews.

4. Fez:

Fez has a long history of Jewish presence and was home to one of the largest Jewish communities in Morocco. However, the Jewish population of Fez has decreased significantly over the years. The Mellah in Fez offers glimpses into the city’s Jewish heritage, with synagogues such as the Ibn Danan Synagogue attracting visitors.

5. Essaouira:

Essaouira, a port city in western Morocco, was once home to a thriving Jewish community. Although the population has greatly decreased, the city still retains a small Jewish presence. The Chaim Pinto Synagogue and the Silat Lekahel Synagogue are notable religious sites in Essaouira.

Journey to explore the history of the Jewish religion in Morocco

Embarking on a journey to explore the history of Judaism in Morocco is a captivating and enlightening experience. This journey of discovery takes you through centuries of rich cultural interactions, spiritual traditions, and the enduring legacy of the Moroccan Jewish community. From ancient cities to vibrant neighborhoods, every step reveals a unique tapestry woven by the interwoven threads of Jewish and Moroccan heritage.

Jewish Heritage Tour from the city of Fez

You may begin your journey in Fez, one of Morocco’s oldest and most historically important cities. In Fez, you can explore the mellah, the Jewish quarter, which dates back to the 15th century. Within the Mellah, you will discover synagogues, such as the Ibn Danan Synagogue, a stunning architectural gem that stands as testament to the thriving Jewish community that once resided there.

Jewish Heritage Tour to the coastal city of Essaouira

From Fez, exploration can lead you to the coastal city of Essaouira, known for its whitewashed buildings, bustling souks, and captivating mix of cultures. Here, you can visit the Chaim Pinto Synagogue, named after the famous Moroccan Rabbi Chaim Pinto. This synagogue is a cherished symbol of the resilience of the Jewish community in Essaouira, which once boasted a thriving Jewish population.

Jewish Heritage Tour To the city of Casablanca

Continuing your trip, you may venture to the vibrant city of Casablanca, where you will find the magnificent Temple of Bethel. Built in the 1930s, this large synagogue showcases the Art Deco style of architecture and is a focal point for the city’s Jewish community. Casablanca is also home to the Museum of Moroccan Judaism, which offers a comprehensive exploration of Jewish heritage and history.

Jewish Heritage Tour in Tanja city

As you travel to the northern region, Tangier awaits you with its captivating blend of European and Moorish influences. Tangier has always been a meeting point for diverse cultures and has played an important role in the lives of many Jewish writers and artists, including the famous American writer Paul Bowles. When exploring the city’s winding streets, you’ll come across St. Andrew’s Church, which served as a makeshift synagogue during World War II, when Jewish refugees sought sanctuary in Tangier.

Jewish Heritage Tour to the old city of Meknes

To delve into the Jewish Heritage Tour, it is essential to visit the ancient city of Meknes. Meknes boasts an ornate and well-preserved Jewish quarter dating back to the 17th century, known as the Hiram Dinan Synagogue. This synagogue is a testament to the deep roots of the city’s Jewish community and its important contributions to the cultural fabric of Meknes.

Get involved with the local Jewish community

Throughout your trip, engaging with the local Jewish community and hearing their stories provides unique insight into their living experiences, traditions, and challenges. Moroccan Jews have preserved their religious and cultural practices, from the vibrant celebrations of Jewish holidays to the enchanting melodies of Andalusian music, reflecting a harmonious blend of Jewish and Moorish influences.

Morocco’s commitment to religious tolerance and coexistence

Moreover, the journey exploring the history of the Jewish religion in Morocco is a testament to the country’s commitment to religious tolerance and coexistence. Morocco’s embrace of its Jewish heritage, the restoration of synagogues and cemeteries, and the celebration of Jewish holidays alongside Muslim ones show the country’s remarkable spirit of inclusivity.

Upon completion of your trip, the historical and cultural encounters will leave an indelible mark on your understanding of Judaism in Morocco. The experiences shared, the architectural wonders explored, and the deep bonds forged will inspire a deep appreciation for the enduring Jewish legacy and the vibrant multiculturalism that characterizes Morocco.

Overview

The Jewish community in Morocco has always been one of the largest in the Arab world. In spite of the fact that every region of the United Kingdom contains important Jewish legends, its heritage and history are largely unknown abroad. We are rediscovering this Jewish heritage and learning more about Morocco’s complex history as a result. Jews have lived in this region for centuries; they have retained all of their ancient customs, traditions, and culture. The Kings of Morocco shielded Jews from harm and assisted some of them in amassing the wealth that sustained the monarchy for centuries.
This is an excellent excursion for discovering the Jewish heritage in Morocco, with the Jewish Museum in Casablanca and the synagogues in Fes as highlights.

Tour Features

  • Explore Jewish history and Jewish neighborhoods in Casablanca, Fes, and Marrakech.
  • Visit the Beth El Temple and the Jewish Museum in Casablanca.
  • Explore the Mellah alleyways of Fes.
  • Attend the liturgy at the Marrakech synagogue.
  • Enjoy a picnic supper in the ruggedly beautiful Atlas Mountains.
  • Spend the night in a luxurious camp in the Sahara and ride a camel.
  • In Marrakech's souks, you can find authentic Moroccan relics.
  • Join the festivities at Djemaa el-Fna in Marrakech at sunset.
  • Throughout your voyage, you will be accompanied by a skilled private driver.
  • Please note that Kosher meals are not available everywhere.

Itinerary

A Morocco travel adviser and tour manager will assist you with your luggage and transfer you to your Casablanca hotel upon your arrival at the airport.In the afternoon, we will have an orientation tour of Casablanca, which will include the Habbous quarter, the United Nations square, the exterior of the Royal Palace, and a visit to the interior of the Hassan II mosque, one of the most beautiful Islamic monuments.Recommended supper at Rick's Cafe and hotel stay overnight
 

After breakfast in Casablanca, we will visit the interior of the Hassan II Great Mosque, one of the greatest monuments in the Islamic world, followed by a visit to the Place Mohammed V, the Casablanca Jewish Museum, the United Nations Square, and the surroundings of the Royal Palace, before strolling along the Ain Diab corniche and visiting the Temple Beth-El Synagogue, Em Habanim, and Neve Chalom. After Casablanca, we will resume our journey to Morocco's administrative capital. We will visit the magnificent Mohammed V Mausoleum and Hassan Tower in Rabat. Overnight at your designated lodging
 
 

After brunch today in Rabat, travel through the Moroccan countryside to Meknes. Meknes, a cultural center for more than a thousand years, features an intriguing medina (old city) and labyrinth of streets lined with colorful stalls and architectural marvels like the intricately carved Bab el-Mansour. Continue to Moulay Idriss, the holiest city in Morocco, before proceeding to the Roman ruins of Volubilis to see the Triumphal Arch and exquisite mosaics. Arrive late this afternoon in Fez.
 
 
 

Spend the day exploring Fez, the earliest imperial city and the religious and cultural hub of the country. Visit the old medina, the largest living Islamic medieval city in the world, before proceeding to the Kairaouine mosque, where a meeting has been arranged with a senior cleric in the private library. Continue through the Jewish quarter to the adjacent Nejjarine Museum of Woods and Crafts and fountain. Visit the Bou Inania madrasa, an outstanding example of Marinid architecture and one of the few religious locations open to non-Muslims, after lunch. The day concludes with a brief excursion to the Merenid tombs. Formerly a palace and cemetery from the 16th century, the ruins offer panoramic vistas of the city walls.
 

Today, we will travel south toward the Sahara Desert. The drive will take approximately 6.5 hours, which may seem like a long time, but don't fear; our drivers will make the trip very enjoyable. We will spend the night in the city of Erfoud so that the following day we will have a full day to explore the desert.The Middle Atlas Mountains will be traversed by vehicle via fertile valleys, cedar forests, and stunning lakes. Stop for a picnic lunch at the Midelt nature reserve before descending through the impressive palm plantations and fortified villages of the Ziz valley, arriving in Erfoud at approximately 4 p.m.
 

After a morning at leisure in Erfoud, we will travel to the village of Merzouga via the sacred city of Rissani, where the Mausoleum of Moulay Ali Sherif contains the remains of the ancestors of the Alaouite Dynasty. Kasbah dating from the 17th century, Ksar Abbar, is visited for its ruins. Continue to the village of Khamlia, renowned for its jazz and gnawa music, before arriving at the auberge close to the dunes, where we will have lunch and relax for a couple of hours before embarking on an hour-long camel excursion to watch the sun set over the golden dunes of Erg Chebbi before retiring for the night.

An early morning camel excursion back to the hotel, followed by a visit to the sunrise and a breakfast in the midst of the dunes Once there, you will exchange your camels for private vehicles and travel to Dades Gorge, where an overnight stay is scheduled. En route, we will stop at the Todgha, where you will witness the awe-inspiring grandeur of the 300-meter-tall (900-foot-tall) canyon walls that continue for another 100 meters (300 feet). If time permits, we will schedule a brief walk through the Todgha Valley during our drive through several small Berber villages and the city of Tinjdad.

After breakfast in Dades Gorge, we will continue our journey to Marrakech, one of the country's most popular tourist destinations. We will pass through the oasis of Skoura and the city of Ouarzazate en route to Ait Ben Haadou Kasbah, a Unesco World Heritage Site. The entire route offers wonderful photo opportunities, particularly at the Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou, where Gladiator, The Mummy, Laurence Arabia, and Jesus of Nazareth were filmed. After visiting Ait Ben Haddou, we will proceed across Tizi Ntichka and into Marrakech, where we will arrive in the afternoon.Check into your hotel or riad and spend the remainder of the day at leisure.


Join one of our licensed local tour guides on a private tour of the Saadian Tombs, El Badi Palace, and Koutoubia Mosque from the 12th century. Exploring an infinite procession of souqs, mosques, and medersas, meander through the medina. Visit Djemaa el-Fna, the enormous square and atmospheric wonderland of torch-lit food vendors, snake charmers, storytellers, and acrobats, just before sunset.

After breakfast and depending on your flight time, we will transfer you to the international airport in Marrakech, assist you with all formalities, and conclude our service.
 

Included/not Included

Included in your Tour

  • 11 days and 10 nights of lodging in the specified option with daily breakfast
  • 3 dinners (Erfoud, Merzouga, and Dades Gorge)
  • Private SUV including fuel
  • A trustworthy English chauffeur throughout the journey
  • A guided tour of the interior of the magnificent Hassan II mosque
  • Local aides are licensed in Fes, Meknes, Volubilis, and Marrakech.

Not Included

  • Drinks
  • Meals not specified under inclusions
  • Flights

You can send your enquiry via the form below.

Jewish Heritage Tour
From $5760
/ Solo Traveller
From $6000
/ Couple

Our Morocco Trips

Jewish Heritage Tour morocco tours
10 Days
$5760

A Jewish Heritage Tour in Morocco can only be started after introducing the history of Moroccan Jews in Morocco, which...

View Details