Morocco's Jewish Heritage
Travel to Morocco’s Imperial Cities and discover Incredible Jewish heritage sites
Morocco is a unique country. Besides the richness of its landscapes and its picturesque markets (souks), Morocco is still today home to hundreds of Jewish heritage sites. These are protected by the highest authorities in the country and often classified as World Heritage of Humanity (UNESCO).
You can visit some of the most beautiful synagogues in the world, or stroll through the Mellahs (Jewish quarters) or celebrate the pilgrimage of Hiloula … The history of Judaism in Morocco is several thousand years old. It tells the peaceful story of one of the most important Jewish communities in the Muslim world.
123Morocco.com (by Activ’Travel) has developed Tours around this center of interest since 1997. Over time, we have come closer to the local community and developed an important network. We have made many trips for individuals (often looking for a homecoming) but also for international Jewish groups and organizations. We count among our guides and Tour Leader Moroccans of Jewish and Muslim faith.
With this long experience, we are able to offer you very high quality Tours and Moroccan Jewish Heritage Packages.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of Jewish heritage sites in Morocco, which will help you build your next visit:
Temple Beth-El Synagogue
Casablanca has the largest Jewish community in the country, numbering about 5,000.
Sightseeing of the Jewish sites in Casablanca:
The Temple Beth-El: a Jewish Synagogue in Casablanca, Morocco; considered the centerpiece of a once vibrant Jewish community. Its stained glass windows and other artistic elements.
Casablanca Jewish cemetery: open and quiet, with well-kept white stone markers in French, Hebrew and Spanish. Once a year, Casablancans celebrate a hiloula, or prayer festival, at the tomb of the Jewish saint, Eliahou.
Jewish Museum: 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. It uses world-class standards of conservation for its national and international collections.
Mausoleum of King Mohammed V
Chellah: where Jews are believed to have lived during the time of the Phoenicians.
Mausoleum of King Mohammed V: which has become a pilgrimage site for Jews, who cannot forget his efforts to defend them against the anti-Semitic policies of the French Vichy Government.
The near-by mellah: has a beautiful synagogue just inside its gates, while the main synagogue is found a few blocks onward in the New City.
Rabat’s Jewish cemetery has tombstones with inscriptions in Hebrew, French and Spanish. Important saints include Eliezer de Avila and Chalom Zaoui.
The Jewish community has long been present in the City of Sale. A Jewish tombstone was discovered in the 2nd century, and many Jewish refugees from Portugal and Spain came to live here in the 13th century. Visit Bab Lemrissa and find out how the Jewish people lived in the heart of this pirate city.
The Spiritual City
Sightseeing of Fez, the oldest cultural and spiritual imperial city of Morocco, which was founded in 790 B.C by Moulay Idriss II. Highlights will include:
Mellah with its synagogues (Rabbi Shlomo Ibn Danan Synagogue, Roben Ben Sadoun, the Jewish Museum of the Em Habanim synagogue).
Jewish cemetery which contains the tombs of more Jewish saints than any other cemetery in Morocco, like, Yehuda Ben Attar, Abner Ha-Serfati, Solika Hatchuel, Monsenego…
House of Maimonides with its mysterious water clock. Maimonides lived in the city from 1159-1165.
Sefrou “Little Jerusalem”
Distinguished by its low walls, the Jewish quarter is located in the city’s medina or old city. Although the Jewish community is not present these days, the Jewish quarter or Mellah is still a pleasant place to visit where you discover the diversity of the city’s Jewish history. Don’t miss the Kef al Yahudi in Hebrew, a cave believed to be the burial place of the prophet Daniel.
Since the old Mellah was built on a sloping gorge, the Jewish community and the Berdugo family decided to build a new Mellah in the 1920s. The first houses and the Rabbi Yeoushoua synagogue were built by 1920, while the Talmud Torah was completed in 1930. Today, the Mellah attracts groups of Jewish tourists and is famous for its distinctive architecture.
Rabbi Pinhas Cohen
You will enjoy a peck into the world of Jewish Marrakesh:
Mellah with its synagogues, The Negidim synagogue built at the end of the 19th century, the other synagogue of the mellah is the Salat el Alzama, built at the turn of the century, there is a local legend that the synagogue was built during the Second Temple period by Jews who had never lived in Eretz-Israel and had not witnessed the destruction of the Temple…
Cemetery where Rabbi Hanania Ha-Cohen, the Lion of Marrakesh and Rabbi Pinhas Cohen are buried.
11th century Almoravide Koubba el Baroudiyn: one of the few architectural reminders of the dynasty that presided over the “Golden Age” of the Jews in Spanish Andalucia and Morocco.
The Portuguese City of Mazagan
El Jadida, the 18th century Portuguese citadel later served as the Jewish quarter. Visit of:
Ramparts of an old Portuguese Medina, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was known as Mazagan under the Portuguese, who held it from 1506 until 1769.
Visit the Mellah in the Northern part of the medina, the sanctuary of Oulad Ben Zmirou and the Portuguese fortress.
AZEMMOUR : The old Mellah – Azzemour had a substantial Jewish population until the 1960s – lies beyond the kasbah at the northern end of the Medina. Here, beside ramparts overlooking the Oum er Rbia, is the old town synagogue which is still well maintained and visited occasionally by practicing Jews from Casablanca and El Jadida. It’s cared for by a local family and you can look inside to see the tomb of Rabbi Abrahim Moul Niss, a shrine for Jewish pilgrims.
Morocco’s Jewish Community
Moroccan Jews constitute an ancient community. Before the founding of Israel in 1948, there were about 250,000 to 350,000 Jews in the country, which gave Morocco the largest Jewish community in the Muslim world.
Jews today in Morocco
Jews of Moroccan descent in Israel
Jews Lived in Morocco In 1948
years of Jewish presence in Morocco
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