Exotic Morocco Jewish Heritage Adventure with Rabbi Michael Gotlieb
June 11th- 19th 2023
Day 1: Sunday, June 11 – Departure from USA
- Depart the USA on an overnight flight to Casablanca.
Day 2: Monday, June 12 – Arrival in Casablanca
- Arrival at Casablanca’s Mohammed V Airport. (Need flight details)
- Cosmopolitan Casablanca has roots dating to the Roman settlement of Anfa. The port became a key trading post for the Sultan in the 18th Century and was greatly expanded during the French protectorate. Recent years have seen efforts to restore the once crumbling medina. Nearby, you will see various art deco facades. Casablanca is Morocco’s largest metropolis and home of the largest Jewish community in the country.
- Visit to the Hassan II Mosque. Completed in
1993, the Mosque can accommodate up to 25,000 worshippers making it the second largest in Islam today. Visitors must be on time for scheduled visits.
- Lunch at the SOC (included)
- After lunch, guided visit through the Museum of Moroccan Judaism, for a glimpse into the rich and colorful world of Moroccan Jewry. It is the first Jewish Museum in a Muslim country. The museum tells the story of a community that once numbered 250,000 strong. It documents two millennia of Jewish heritage, both in the Imperial Cities as well as in the lesser-known Berber Jewish communities spread throughout the Atlas Mountains and the Sahara.
- Then head in-land to Marrakech (approximately a 2.5 hour ride)
- Check into The Sofitel – Marrakech
- Dinner at Al Fassia Agdal (included)
Overnight: The Sofitel
Day 3: Tuesday, June 13
- Breakfast at hotel
- After breakfast, visit the Jardin Majorelle. The garden was a gift to Marrakech from Yves-Saint Laurent. Purchased from the painter Jacque Majorelle, the garden is adorned with Majorelle blue- the color named after him. Continue to the Yves-Saint Laurent Museum, opened in October, 2017. The museum highlights
the life work of the designer and his connection to Marrakech.
- Lunch at Mamma Mia Restaurant (included).
- After lunch, visit Dar El Bacha Confluences Museum in Marrakech Palace. Pacha Glaoui, located in the medina of Marrakech, is one of the most beautiful palaces of the red city. Also called “the governor’s palace”, or Dar el Glaoui, it was built at the beginning of the 20th century.
- Make a stop at Djemaa el Fana, the main square at the heart of Marrakech’s medina. In the late afternoon, food stalls appear next to rows of escargot sellers, snake charmers, musicians and story tellers. See the Koutoubia Minaret as it dominates the skyline of Marrakech. The 12th century monument is a masterpiece in Moorish architecture. ,)ש מרק מלאח :
- Vist the Mellah of Marrakech (Hebrew formerly known as Hay Essalam, the Jewish Quarter (Mellah) of Marrakesh. It is the second oldest of its kind in the country. It is considered to be one of the largest in Morocco. It never ceases to surprise and impress its visitors!
- Dinner with members of local Jewish Community at Mrs. Ohayon’s home (included).
- Overnight: The Sofitel
Day 4: Wednesday, June 14 – Essaouira
- Breakfast at hotel
- Head towards the Atlantic coast to Essaouira: city of Mogador (Total drive: 3 hours with stops), a former Portuguese town on the Atlantic Ocean that has become something of an artists’ colony. The enchanting streets of this fortified town were the setting for Orson Welles’ 1952 Othello. Explore the picturesque street of the Thuya workers. Essaouira is renowned for its skilled artisans turning fragrant Thuya wood, the Oceanside ramparts, and the numerous art galleries and boutiques scattered about. Most recently it was the location for several episodes of the Game of Thrones series!
- On route, you might see goats climb Argan trees in search of the tree nuts.
- You may want to make a stop at one of the Argan oil cooperatives on the road between Essaouira & Marrakech. They produce the best argan oil, where the highest standards are used to produce the finest cosmetic and culinary oils. The company’s oil is also certified organic based on international standards. Argan oil has gained notoriety in the USA & Europe for its cosmetic qualities as well as the cooking oil which is extremely healthy and adds a pine nut flavor to any fresh salad.
- Upon arrival, enjoy Lunch at M Gallery restaurant (included).
- After lunch, visit the old Jewish cemetery and synagogue. Rabbi Haim Pinto (1748–1845) was the leading rabbi in the seaport city of Essaouira, Morocco, known in his lifetime as Mogador, Morocco. Rabbi Pinto, himself born into a distinguished rabbinic family, had four sons, Rabbi Yehouda also known as Rabbi Haddan, Rabbi Yossef, Rabbi Yehoshiya and Rabbi Yaacov. Annually, on the anniversary of Rabbi Pinto’s death, (26 Elloul 5605, in the Hebrew calendar) Jews from around the world come on pilgrimage to pray at the Rabbi’s grave.
- Return to Marrakech.
- Rest and refresh at your Hotel.
- Dinner on your own (there are several good restaurants in walking distance of Hotel)
- Overnight: Sofitel
Day 5: Thursday, June 15
- Breakfast at the hotel
- Then we head to Dchiera Aghouatim (“Big Family”), a small Berber village (about 40 minutes). Here we will have a private, outdoor Kosher Cooking Class hosted by a famous local chef. Prepare your own traditional Moroccan dishes and enjoy them for lunch! Learn about Moroccan spices, including Ras al Hanout, the definitive spice of Moroccan cuisine. Bake bread the traditional Moroccan way using an earthen, wood-fueled stove. The organic vegetables used in your dish are grown in the garden on site! While your tagine is cooking over the fire, take a walk (about 20 minutes) across a wide valley, where sheep graze, wild cactus fruit grows, and the days go on seemingly untouched by modern life. We will wander through the village and visit with the local villagers who are happy to talk about the history of the village and their daily life.
- After lunch, say your farewells to the cooking class staff and villagers and head back to your hotel in Marrakech.
- Make a visit to the Berber Pharmacy and Spice Shop located in the Kasbah region of the old city, not far from your hotel. Here you will learn about all of the natural remedies and cooking spices used by the Berber Culture for centuries. This is a fun stop with a bit of unique education.
- Break up into smaller groups with guides to explore the endless souks of Marrakech. Each trade and specialty clusters together over the alleyways and squares. We will be hosted by Richard DeMayo, an American designer who has called Marrakech home for almost 20 years. We will have access to local workshops and wholesalers which are closed to the public, but are special contacts of your host. Along the way you may want to stop in one of the Argan cooperative shops. Argan oil is gaining notoriety for its cholesterol reducing qualities and use in beauty products.
- Rest and refresh before dinner.
- Dinner on your own and evening at leisure (there are many good local restaurants).
- Overnight: Sofitel
Day 6: Friday, June 16 – Fes
- Breakfast at the Hotel and check out 8:00am early departure to Fes.
- Lunch on route – independently
- Upon arrival, you will take in a panoramic view of the Medina of Fes from Borj Sud, a towering fortress overlooking the city. Your guide will give you a brief introduction to Fes.
- Check in at Palais Medina – Fes
Rest, refresh and get ready for Shabbat.
• Optional Shabbat Services and dinner at The
Centre Maimonides with members of local Jewish Community who will join the group to discuss their life in Fes (included).
- Overnight: Palais Medina
Day 7: Saturday, June 17 – Shabbat in Fes
- Breakfast at hotel
- Shabbat Morning Services at Ben Saadoun Synagogue. • Shabbat Lunch at Maimonides Restaurant (included). • After lunch, take a walking tour through the Mellah (Jewish Quarter) of Fes. Visit the 17th century Ibn Danan Synagogue, the oldest existing synagogue in the city. The synagogue underwent a restoration as part of a UNESCO project in 1999.
- You will cross through an area known for its goldsmithing, and continue across the street to Fes Jadid passing ancient homes to the entry called Bab Semmarine. The entryway was built by the Marinid Dynasty in the late 13th century. Continue through the famous public Jnane Sbil Gardens to the Blue Gates of the old city, known as Bab Bou Jeloud.
- Follow a different route back to enjoy the scenery. Return to your hotel, and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.
- Dinner at MB Restaurant (included).
- Overnight at Palais Medina Fes
Day 8: Sunday, June 18 –Fes
- Breakfast at the hotel
- Visit the Jewish Cemetery. Enjoy a walking tour through the Mellah of Fes. We will visit the historic 17th century Ibn Danan Synagogue. The oldest existing synagogue in the city, Ibn Danan underwent a restoration as part of a UNESCO project in 1999.
- Discover the secret of medieval medina-city of Fes El Bali (old Fes), founded in the 9th century. See the University of al-Qarawiyyin – also written Al Quaraouiyine or Al-Karaouine. According to UNESCO and Guinness World Records, it is the oldest existing, continually operating educational institution in the world. They also named it as the first degree-awarding educational institution.
- Pass the Blue Gate, and the Shrine of Moulay Idriss, and peek through the many entrances of the massive Al Quaraouiyine Mosque. As you explore, you will wind in and out of a variety of souks – from vegetable markets through the street of butchers, alleys of harira soup cafes, weavers, carpenters and so much more. As we stroll, you can see the communal bread ovens that are very much a part of daily medina life!
- Lunch: Nejjarine Restaurant (included).
- After lunch, visit the Al-Attarine Madrasa near Al-Qarawiyyin. It was built by the Marinid sultan Uthman II Abu Said (r. 1310-1331) in 1323-5. The medrasa takes its name from the Souk al-Attarine, the spice and perfume market. The Medersa (Koranic college) is a jewel of Hispano–Moorish architecture.
- Next, we will learn a bit about the Moroccan leather industry as you continue to the iconic Chouara Tannery. Chouara Tannery is one of the three tanneries in the city of Fez. Built in the 11th century, it is the largest tannery in the city and is located in the Fes el Bali, the oldest medina quarter of the city. Since the inception of the city, the tanning industry has been continually operating in the same fashion as it did centuries ago. It’s best to head up to the balconies of one of the shops that will welcome you with a sprig of mint and a memorable view.
- Return to the hotel to rest and refresh.
- Farewell dinner at Hotel Sahrai (included). • Overnight: Palais Medina Fes Hotel.
Day 9: Monday, June 19
- Enjoy breakfast at the hotel
- Your bus and Guide are available should you want to venture out before departure.
- Check out of the hotel
- You will be escorted to Casablanca International Airport for your departing flight. Assistance with your luggage will be provided by Heirloom Team.
- Departure flight to the U.S.A., arriving the same day
(flight schedule to be determined).
Discounted Price for Check Payment
Land Only Package – $4595 per person in a double room
Land and Air Package – $6390 per person in a double room
Single Room Supplement – $995
Full Price for Credit Card Payment
Land Only Package – $4778 per person in a double room
Land and Air Package – $6645 per person in a double room
Single Room Supplement – $1035
Added to the costs above are tips for Guide, Driver, Restaurants, and Porterage – $195
Group Air $ 1799 on Air France – Buy it now Air $1569 on Royal Air Marac and American
*Please book flights directly with Tami in ITW Travel’s New Jersey office at 973-535-2575.