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WHY MOROCCO? DISCOVER 2,000 YEARS OF JEWISH HISTORY IN MOROCCO

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Morocco has been home to a vibrant Jewish community for over 2,500 years. Tradition has it

that the Jews had first settled among the Moroccan Berbers after the destruction of the first

temple in 6 B.C. Later, they came as traders and merchants, crossing the Sahara and settling

in the Atlas Mountains. When they were evicted from Spain and Portugal in 1492, many Jews

settled in Morocco where they lived peacefully with their Arab neighbors. They were protected

during WWII when King Mohammed V refused to return the Jews to Europe to be detained in

concentration camps. Prior to the establishment of the State of Israel in 1961, there were over a

quarter million Jews living in Morocco. They incorporated parts of Moroccan and Berber food,

music, and tradition into their culture, creating new traditions that are now part of their identity.

Today, fewer than 4,000 Jews remain in Morocco in a small but tight knit and well organized

community. Most live in Casablanca, though the imperial cities of Fes and Marrakech still have

portions of the Moroccan Jewish population. These cities are also home to many of the Jewish

heritage sites that are being preserved by decree of the king. King Mohammed VI has stated, “I

am committed to defending the faith and the community of believers and to fulfilling my mission

with respect to upholding freedom of religion for all believers in the revealed religions, including

Judaism, whose followers are loyal citizens for whom I deeply care .”

 

The story of Jews in Morocco is preserved in the Museum of the Jews of Morocco in

Casablanca, the only Jewish museum in the Arab world. There you can learn of the influential

scholars and Rabbis who have lived in Morocco, and how the Jews have blended Arab and

Berber traditions of dress, music, art, and food with their own to create a unique identity. You

can tour the walled mellahs, or Jewish quarters, which reflect a vibrancy of the Jewish tradition

in contrast to the austere facades of their Muslim neighbors. You can visit the 500 year old

Danan Synagogue, Jewish cemeteries, and the burial site of Rabbi Shlomo ben Hensh, still

looked after by the last remaining Jewish Berber, high in the Atlas mountains. There are many

remaining Jews who are striving to record, preserve, and restore the once numerous

synagogues, as well as record the history of the people who were once such a large part of

Morocco, ensuring that their lives and legacies are not forgotten. Jews from all over the world

travel to Morocco to explore this unique branch of their shared heritage.

 

Morocco is a warm and welcoming country, which makes no distinction among the religions of

its visitors. It welcomes all with open arms, sharing the wonders it holds. Morocco has some of

the most stunning scenery in the world, from the bright turquoise of the Mediterranean Sea to

the red sand dunes of the Sahara Desert and the rocky Atlas mountains that cut through the

country. The bustling markets are a feast for the senses, with colorful clothing and decor for

sale, mounds of spices scenting the air, sweet dates and cookies to sample. Often local street

musicians can be heard performing traditional Moroccan music. The architecture is beautifully

adorned with intricately carved woodwork and detailed mosaics. Whether shopping for local

handicrafts like silverwork or hand woven rugs, or enjoying a camel trek into the Sahara desert

to spend the night in a bivouac, every day in Morocco brings exciting new experiences.

 

 

Wanderlust Voyages is thrilled to offer 7, 10, and 14 day tours to discover this amazing country

and the important history it holds. Come along with us to visit the Jewish heritage, historic

Moroccan, and modern must-see sites. Our fully guided tours include round-trip airfare from the

U.S., ground transportation, 4 or 5 star accommodations, breakfast and lunch or dinner daily,

and entrance to all excursions. You can find out about our upcoming Jewish Heritage tours at

www.wanderlustvoyagestravel.com/jewish-heritage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

MH –New York Jewish Travel Guide

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