Magical Jewish Morocco with Jewish Renaissance
Thursday 13 to Thursday 20 March 2014
Marrakesh – Essaouira – Casablanca – Rabat – Meknes – Fez
Luxury accommodation – Option for Extension
We will explore the fascinating past of the Jewish community, with its varied roots – Berber and Spanish – and its French affiliations. We will learn about its religion, culture, and customs and enjoy an unforgettable Purim celebration with the remaining community. We will also visit other key sites of beauty and historical interest. We will stay in excellent hotels, including a traditional riad, and have some stunning meals.
OUR EXCEPTIONAL GUIDE RAFI ELMALEH
Returned from Israel to live in Casablanca, Rafi is a Moroccan Jewish tour guide specialising in the 2,000 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 relentless efforts on the trip through Jewish sites around the country and his discovery of numerous exciting artefacts displayed in the Casablanca Jewish museum he has created. In fact, it is the only Jewish museum in the Arab world. A captivating speaker, he enthrals his listeners with remarkable stories and inspirational anecdotes. He is very entertaining and makes the tour a joyful and rewarding experience. Earlier this year his book on Jewish Morocco was presented by him to the King.
Day 1: Thursday 13th – Marrakech after arrival at our lovely Ksar Anika Riad (above) in the Mellah Jewish quarter, a buffet lunch awaits us followed by visit to the Bahia Palace, Synagogue and cemetery and a walk to the world famous Djemaa El Fna Sqaure & Medina. Evening free.
Day 2: Friday 14th – Day trip to Essaouira leaving 9am to head for the coast visiting a family-run argan oil factory on way before visiting this wonderful coastal town (below) where once 40% of the population was Jewish. (When you see the size of the seagulls in the town you will know why the Hitchcock's The Birds was filmed there) We visit the sole surviving Jewish shop and the cemetery where Rabbi Chaim Pinto is buried as well as the Synagogue and Mellah. BBQ fish lunch recommended in the port. Afternoon free to sunbath on the beach or shop in a town famous for its wooden carvings and ornaments. Coach leaves resort at 4pm. Shabbat services at Marrakech Synagogue (optional) followed by kosher shabbat meal at our Ksar Anika riad.
Day 3: Shabbat 15th FREE DAY though you might like to join the Synagogue service near the riad and the kosher shabbat lunch with Moroccan chulent is not to be missed, and you might like to join a casual afternoon stroll, visiting the famous Mamouna Hotel and the posh district and the evening Megillah reading at the Synagogue.
Day 4: Sunday 16th Leave for Casablanca There see the street of seven shuls, the kosher bakery, the Jewish museum and the Beth el Synagogue. There is an optional visit to the renowned Hassan 11 Mosque on the Corniche. We stay at the fabulous twin towers Kenzi Towers hotel and take an early dinner with the community at their Communal Purim Seudah with the Rabbi and Jewish community of Casablanca - on par with a quality French simcha celebration, this is an experience you will always remember.
Day 5: Monday 17th We leave Casablanca to travel up the coast to the capital Rabat and view its shul in the mellah in what was once a Portuguese port. We see shrines of the Moroccan kings on the way to Meknes. This is another of the Imperial Cities where we see the Mellah, labelled with Jewish names, which once contained 11 Synagogues before visiting the famous royal stables (below), once home to 15,000 Arabian horses. Arrive at the Ramada Hotel Fez and have an evening meal at the Maimionides club, Chez Max.
Day 6: Tuesday 18th
We spend the day in Fez visiting the extraordinary Jewish cemetery in the Mellah, hear the legend of Salika, visit the Ibn Dayan shul and newly renovated Synagogue plus mikva plus Maimonides house. We then walk through the biggest medina in the world, home to the first university long before Oxford & Cambridge were even though of. We visit the famous tannery (below) and lunch in the mellah before continuing the tour of the Medina, visiting local artisans. Before returning to our hotel we park on a hill to view the best view of the Medina - Evening Free.
Day 7: Wednesday 19th Free relaxing morning to either explore world's biggest Medina or shop or relax by the pool - Optional afternoon trip by way of the cedar woods and the Atlas mountain range with many interesting stops including feeding the famous monkeys and visiting a ski resort plus Sefrou, a former Jewish town. In the evening a Moroccan show in Medina with meal.
Day 8: Thursday 20th We leave Hotel Ramada at 5.30am to catch the 7.35am RyanAir flight back to Stansted.
OUTWARD: Thursday 13 March: EasyJet Flight 8893 Gatwick to Marrakech RAK depart 7.40am arrive 11.20am – currently £78.
Alternatively if you would prefer not to travel so early you could take a flight on Wednesday 12 from Stanstead at leave12.30pm, arrive 16.15 currently only £47 or from Gatwick at 15.20 arrive 19.40 (currently £83) and pay for a night's extension at the Marrakesh Ksar Anika Riad at an extra cost of £110 per room including breakfast). Those wishing to spend more time in Marrakech can request further nights at the Riad.
RETURN: Thursday 20 March RyanAir FR2773 Leaves Fez at 7.35 am arrives Stansted 11am. Currently £38 (there are no later alternative flights on any day on any airline from Fez to London).
TOTAL COST FOR TRIP
Not including flights which must be booked by yourselves, the cost for the 7 night luxury accommodation trip is £1,095 pp sharing a room – single room supplement £295.
SERVICES INCLUDED IN THE ABOVE RATES
Welcome and assistance at Mohamed V airport by ACCESS HOLIDAYS staff.
Hotel accommodation based on BB and 1 other meal per day (as below).
Deluxe A/C transportation and guides throughout
Entrance fees to monuments and museums except Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca
Porterage and tips at the hotels
Lunch in Ksar Anika on arrival Thursday 13 March
Dinner in Ksar Anika on Shabbat Friday 14 March
Shabbat Lunch at Ksar Anika on Saturday 15 March
Dinner at the Communual Purim Seudah in Casablanca on Sunday 16 March
Kosher Dinner at Maimonides Club Chez Max Fez on Monday 17 March
Vegetarian Lunch in La Medina restaurant on Tuesday 18 March
Moroccan show with meal in Fez Medina on Wednesday 19 March
Marrakech: Ksar Anika Riad – 3 nights
Casablanca: Kenzi Tower Hotel – 1 night
Fez: Fez Ramada Hotel – 3 nights
This is a Jewish Renaissance trip so those booking who are not subscribers must commit to a year's membership fee of £24. Documentation for the trip will include a copy of the Jewish Renaissance feature, The Jews of Morocco.