Jewish Heritage Tour of Magical Morocco - Including week-end choices.
16th February 2012 - Total 12 days, 11 nights for full trip that includes Sahara desert.
For those not wishing to go for full 12 day trip can choose either 1st part of trip & week-end only in Marrakesh – 4 days 3 nights. Or either conclusion of trip & 2nd week-end in Fez Meknes Rabat & Casablanca from 23rd February – 5 days 4 nights
Flights recommended to be booked by yourselves are the early morning EASYJET flight from Gatwick to Marrakech 7.45 am No 8893 lands 11.30 am on 16th February – Booking return flight 19th February if returning Sunday 19th.
For full trip book Return flight book 20.25 pm on 27th February Flight No 8896 Lands at 23.55pm Gatwick
COST £78 return [as of 2.10.11] Recommended flights to Fez trip only are RyanAir from Stanstead airport joining us on Thursday 23rd February Flight No FR2772 15.50pm Lands Fez 19.10 pm [£23 as of 10/10/10] then booking the Marrakesh flight home on EASYJET on 27th as above. Alternatively from Casablanca Airport on BMI to Heathrow at 11.50am Land 15.15pm Cost £284
Jewish life in Morocco began in antiquity and legends relate about the settlement of Jews in Biblical times. Epigraphic evidence shows the existence of Jews in Morocco in the early centuries of the Common Era. Jews lived there with the Berbers long before the Muslim Arabs conquered North Africa. They succeeded in converting several Berber tribes and in establishing a powerful community. Under Arab rule Jewish life underwent ups and downs. A period of decline starting in the 14th century was followed by a flourishing era with the arrival of the Jews expelled from Spain. An exciting and interesting meeting of the local and the Sephardic Jews led to religious and cultural clashes and symbiosis. Morocco became a center of mysticism and a haven for the conversos. While Jews lived in their special quarters, the mellahs, they developed a rich and fascinating way of life. From the 18th century European influence affected deeply Jewish life and with the establishment of the French protectorate the Jews of Morocco underwent a serious transformation. Our visit will concentrate on the remains of a fascinating Jewish past and besides sites of general historical interest. The trip will examine the history, religion, culture, folklore and customs of Moroccan Jewry.
A FEW WORDS ON OUR EXCEPTIONAL GUIDE RAFI ELMALEH
RAFI ELMALEH who has returned from Israel to live in Casablanca in Morocco, is a Moroccan Jewish tour guide specialising in the 2000 year old history of Morocco’s Jews. Rafi is at the forefront of an effort to preserve Morocco’s Jewish heritage and keep the memory of former Jewish Moroccan communities alive. You will learn and see his efforts on the trip through his relentless search through Jewish sites around the country and his discovery of numerous exciting artifacts which he displays in the Casablanca Jewish museum he has created. In fact it is the only Jewish museum in the Arab world. A captivating speaker, Rafi enthralls his listeners with remarkable stories & inspirational anecdotes. He is very entertaining and makes the tour a joyful and rewarding experience.
Day 1 – Thursday 16 February 2012 – Marrakech
Arrival at Menara airport , afternoon visit of the old medina and time to explore the souks where the endless journey of shopping begins. Included will be a visit to the world’s famous Djemaa El Fna, a place which offers various entertainments (story tellers, acrobats, snake-charmers, magicians, etc.). Accommodation in Marrakech
Overnight at Atlas Medina Marrakech
Day 2 – Friday 17 February : Marrakech
After Breakfast, begin sightseeing of Marrakech. Visit the Saadian tombs, the Koutoubia Mosque, the Bahia Palace and the Menara Garden. In the afternoon, The Mellah (Jewish Quarter) which became home of a thriving community of native and Spanish Jews, famed for their rabbinical schools and scholars. Afternoon free to relax and ready for Shabbat. Shabbat diner at Ohayon Home hospitality
Day 3 – Shabbos 18 February : Marrakech
Leisurely buffet breakfast at the hotel. Optional Shabbat Services at local synagogue. Morning is free to relax or visit the Medina. Shabbat kiddush lunch at Ohayon Home Hospitality Afternoon at leisure. In the evening Kosher Fantasia Dinner at Borj Bladi in Marrakech. Overnight at Atlas Medina Marrakech
Day 4 – Sunday 19 February : Marrakech – Essaouira
Early buffet breakfast at the hotel. Depart for Essaouira, one of Morocco’s most enjoyable and attractive towns on the coast. It’s charm is undeniable with its white washed and blue shuttered houses, art galleries, wood workshops, fishermen and colorful boats- all enclosed by ancient red walls. The town faces a group of rocky islands and is surrounded by an expanse of empty sandy beaches and dunes. Everything in the small center is within walking distance and the beaches are quite clean. Afternoon, visit of the Jewish sepitry, the Mellah and all of the Jewish area. There will be time to relax and explore the sea side town. Diner and Overnight at Atlas Essaouira – Breakfast
Day 5 – Monday 20 February : Essaouira – Taroudant
Deaprture to Taroudant via Agadir
Diner and overnight at palais Salam Taroudant
Day 6 – Tuesday 21 February – Taroudant – Ouarzazate
After Breakfast departure to Ourzazatet via the 500 year old most fascinating Dobi Synagogue in the Berber village of Arazane, where a geniza was recently discovered. The centuries old synagogue has been preserved in tact its orginal shapeand the small berber villages of Taliouine. Diner and Overnight at Framissima Karam hotel
Day 7 – Wednesday 22 February Ourzazate – Erfoud – Merzouga
Departure to Tinghir via the road of the thousand kasbahs and the Dades valley famous for its roses and the yearly Moussem (rose Feztival and via the dades canyons then stop at the feet of the magnificent Todgha canyons which rocks reach an altitude of 250 meters. Then continuation to Erfoud take the land cruisers for a transfer to Merzouga where to spend the night and have A vegetarian Diner and overnight at Kasbah Tombouctou
Day 8 – Thursday 23 February – Erfoud – Fez
Departure to Fes via Errachidia ( visit of the 150 years old synagogue ) and the Ziz valley dotted with palm trees, which are the source for the yearly date Feztival in Erfoud then continuation to Fes via Midelt then via the mountains and the cedar woods of the middle Atlas passing by Azrou, an important handicraft center and Ifrane, a charming ski resort
Overnight at Ramada Fes
Day 9 – Friday 24th February Fez
Visit the Mellah and the synagogues Ibn Danan from 17th century and Sadun from 1926 and others. Observe further Jewish remains in the Mellah. Visit Jewish cemetery. Proceed to King's Palace, one of the most sumptuous complexes in Morocco.Visit the Medina (the original Arab part of a Moroccan town). Visit the so-called Maimonides House. View the tannery. Shabbat services in the Synagogue followed by shabbos meal at Max Restaurant/Jewish club.
FEZ Accommodation at the Ramada Fez hotel
Day 10 Shabbos 25 February – Fez
Leisurely buffet breakfast at the hotel. Optional Shabbat Services at local synagogue or the morning is free to relax or visit the Medina. Shabbat kiddush lunch at the Jewish club Afternoon at leisure before evening Music review in the Fez Medina
Day 11 – Sunday 26th February 2012 – Morning visit to Meknes then Rabat the capital before Casablanca 8am Early check out and start. Depart to Meknes, a UNESCO World Heritage site, also another of the imperial cities where a community of 15,000 Jews resided in 1950. We visit the Mellah, witness the remnant of a rich history within the walls of the eleven synagogues and see the many streets that are labeled with Jewish names. We will visit the tomb of Rabbi David Benmidan, who was the “Patron of Meknes” and drive along the walls and numerous gates of the city plus its spice market. We will then visit the famous gate of Bab El Mansour, the Hedim square. We will also visit the famous former royal kings riding stables once hone to 15,000 Arabian horses. Lunch Box then continuation to Rabat
In the afternoon we will visit the capital of Morocco RABAT see its Mellah and the shrines to the various kings of Morocco and hear why it’s the capital city.
We reach Casablanca in the evening which is home to the largest Jewish community in Morocco.
Overnight at Kenzi Tower hotel Casablanca
Final Day 12 Monday 27th February 2012
Casablanca has numerous congregations and active communal institutions, some of which we will visit. We will go to the Habbous Quarter in the Medina, Mohammed V Square, the United Nations Square and the great Hassan II Mosque as optional one of the Islamic world’s stunning monuments. Continuation of sightseeing of Casablanca, visit of the street of 7 synagogues and the Kosher Bakery, the Jewish Museum in the Mellah (Jewish Quarter) and the Beth-el Synagogue. 4pm We leave for Marrakesh airport for our flight home
TOTAL COST FOR TRIP:- £1,375 pp sharing a room – single room supplement £195 – Not including flights must be booked by yourselves. Marrakesh week-end 4 days 3 nights £495 sharing double single supplement £95 Fez week-end 5 days 4 nights £595 sharing double single supplement £110 [need to book pm RyanAir flight from Stanstead on 23rd Feb and back EasyJet as recommended to Gatwick]
SERVICES INCLUDED IN THE ABOVE RATES
· Full board meals kosher when available or vegetarian and be it sandwiches when we are on road
· Welcome & assistance at Mohamed V airport by ACCESS HOLIDAYS AND EVENTS staff.
· Hotel accommodation based on FB according to your program.
· Transportation with deluxe A/C transportation 48 seats throughout the program.
· Professional English speaking guide through the tour and local guides in the cities.
· Entrance fees to the monuments except Hassan II Mosque 120 DH / pp optional trip In Casablanca.
· Porter age and tips at the hotels.
· Our complete and full assistance.
Included in price are the following:
· Vegetarian show diner at Ksar El Hamra restaurant on February,16th 350 DH/ pax
· Full Shabbat including a diner on February,17th and lunch on February,18th : 700 DH / pax
· Fantasia Diner at Borj blade restaurant on February,18th : 350 DH / pax
· Vegetarian Show diner at Palais de le Medina restaurant on February,23rd : 300 DH / pax
· Full Shabbat including a diner on February,24th and lunch on February,25th : 700 DH / pax
In the event you do not wish to attend these events/diners you can deduct cost from total cost above required