Morocco History, Culture & Jewish Life: Past & Present

With Moroccan guide, Rafi Elmaleh and hosted by Jerry Sorkin

October 28 - November 8, 2024


Day 1, Sunday, October 27, Departure from the US

Departure from the US. One suitcase permitted, suggested having rolling wheels.

Day 2, Monday, October 28
Arrival in Casablanca/Rabat
Upon your morning arrival at Casablanca airport this morning, you will be met by your English-speaking Moroccan guide, Rafi Elmaleh, the only Jewish tour guide in the Arab world!!!  Rafi Elmaleh, is a Casablanca born member of the Jewish community and serves as a guide to many visitors interested in Moroccan Jewish culture.

We depart for Rabat, Morocco’s capital, which is approximately one hour away. You will have some time to refresh yourself from your flight and have a light lunch at the hotel. After lunch, we begin our touring of Rabat. Our visit includes the 12th-century Hassan Tower. (L, D)

Day 3, Tuesday, October 29
Meknes, Volubilis, Fez

This morning prior to checking out of your hotel, we will have a guest speaker who is the founder of the Mimouna Foundation. This is an organization made up of Moroccan Muslims who try to learn more and more about Morocco’s Jewish history and its place in contemporary Moroccan society. There is not such an organization anywhere else in the Arab Muslim world.

From Rabat, we drive to Meknes, one of Morocco’s four “Imperial Cities”. We will have lunch and also visit the mellah, the old Jewish quarter, with its synagogue and six-hundred-year-old cemetery, which helps provide the Jewish history of Meknes.  We depart Meknes and drive approximately one hour to Volubulis, the largest Roman site in Morocco.  After touring Volubulis, we drive another hour or so to Fez, where we will spend two nights. Overnight in Fez.
(B, L, D)

Day 4, Wednesday, October 30

Today is fully devoted to Fez. Our visit will include the mellah and the 17thcentury Ibn Danan synagogue. Today, the Jewish community is very small, numbering around 45 Jews. Perhaps one of the most important sites for Jewish visitors is the home of Maimonides, who lived in Fez after leaving Spain. Maimonedes was from Cordova Spain and was a highly revered and prolific medieval scholar and philosopher.

When Jews were being told to convert in Spain under the rule of the fanatical and rather extreme Almohad Berber dynasty at the end of the 12th century, Maimonides and his family chose to go into exile, rather than convert. He had already gained a reputation as a prolific medieval scholar and philosopher. He settled in Fez, where he researched and wrote his famous commentary on the Mishnah. Your touring will include a visit to Maimonides’s home in Fez. Dinner tonight will be in a nice venue. Overnight in Fez. (B, L, D)

Day 5, Thursday, October 31
Fez to Marrakesh

This morning, we depart Fez to Marrakech. There are two routes to Marrakech, one via the Middle Atlas Mountains and the other with back tracking to Rabat and then taking a new road from Rabat to Marrakech.  Given the difference between the former, which takes 8 to 10 to hours, we will take the later route, which will be around 6 to 7 hours. So, make sure you have ample reading material.

Arrive in Marrakech by mid-to-late afternoon. Check into your hotel and an opportunity for a brief rest. We then regroup for a wonderful dinner. Overnight in Marrakech. (B, L, D)

Day 6, Friday, November 1 Marrakesh

Today is devoted to touring the sites of Marrakech, including a visit to the Marjorelle Gardens, Bahia Palace, the herbalists in the medina, the Koutoubia Mosque area and the fabled Djema Fna, the main square in Marrakech, which takes on a very different ambiance from day to night.

There will also be time to walk through the maze of alleyways and shops that make up the medina of Marrakech, including the, the mellah and its 500-year-old Aljama Synagogue.  This evening we will have the opportunity to attend Shabbat services at a local synagogue, meet others from the small Marrakech Jewish community and then have dinner in a Jewish home. Overnight in Marrakech. 
(B,L, D)

Day 7, Friday, November 2

This morning, for those who wish to attend Shabbat services, arrangements will be made. Today is a day for everyone to feel they can explore independently. For those who wish to have the company of our guide, he will be happy to show us other areas of the town and/or point out some of the places people might want to shop if they so desire. Lunch will be independent, with recommendations provided. We will regroup laterthis evening at our hotel for dinner. Overnight in Marrakech. (B, D)

Day 8, Sunday, November 3
Marrakech/Ourika Valley

This morning, we depart for an excursion out of Marrakech to the Ourika Valley.  The primary purpose of this excursion is not only to see a relatively remote village Historically, but many Berbers of Morocco also converted to Judaism and remained in their rural villages. We will also visit the grave of Rabbi Shlomo Bel Hench, considered a Tzadik, or righteous scholar by Morocco’s Jews. Late day, we return to Marrakech. Overnight in Marrakech. (B, L)


Dinner tonight is independent. Searching design and food magazines, as well as online sources, one finds that Moroccan cuisine and the restaurant scene in Marrakech is hot!!! Numerous suggestions will be provided, as well as for instructions on how to get to the restaurant of your choice. You can also visit the famous Djema Fna, Morocco’s central square that turns into a circus-type atmosphere at night with crowds coming to the market to listen to the variety of local musicians, enjoying the many food stalls and the exotic atmosphere that has carried on for generations in Marrakech, including snake charmers. Overnight in Marrakech. (B, L)

Day 9, Monday, November 4

This morning we depart Marrakech to Essaouira. Our base for the night is a beautiful hotel at the seaside. Both lunch and dinner is independent, allowing you to try one of the many dining options in Essaouira. Overnight in Essaouira. (B)

Day 10, Tuesday, November 5
Essaouira to Casablanca

Today depart for Casablanca, Morocco’s economic capital and home to Morocco’s largest Jewish community.  En route, we see sheep sitting on Argyle trees, not far from an Argyle farm.  

This afternoon’s touring in Casablanca will include a visit to the famous Hassan II Mosque, the largest in the world outside Mecca (the only Moroccan Mosque that can be visited by non-Muslims).The Jewish community contributed to the construction of this mosque, which was inaugurated in 1994, as a way of honoring King Hassan’s role as a protector of Morocco’s Jewish community.

Following the mosque, we visit Casablanca’s Jewish Museum, the only such museum in the Arab world. 

Dinner tonight will be at Cercle de L’union, Casablanca’s primary Jewish club, providing an opportunity to have kosher, traditional Jewish Moroccan dishes, as well as meeting members of the Jewish community.  Overnight in Casablanca. (B,L,D)

Day 11, Wednesday, November 6

Today will be spent learning more about Morocco’s Jewish institutions in the capital. Today’s touring will include visiting one  of the schools in Casablanca attended by both Jewish and Muslim students. We will also visit the Museum of Moroccan Judaism, which showcases religious, ethnographic and artistic objects that reflect the history, religion, traditions and daily life of Jews in the context of Moroccan civilization. It is the only Jewish Museum in the Arab world. We will also tour some of the Jewish as well as visiting the Beth El synagogue, one of the numerous synagogues still in use in Casablanca and at least one of Casablanca’s Jewish schools.
Our “Farewell Dinner” will be in a lovely venue. Overnight in Casablanca. (B, L, D)

Our “Farewell Dinner” will be in a lovely venue. Overnight in Casablanca. (B,L,D)

Day 12,Thurday
November 8

We may have some time this morning to visit more of Jewish Casablanca and/or explore independently before departing to the airport for your return flights to the US. (B)


  • Fez: Marriott’s Jnan Palace ★★★★★
    Nights of October 29 & 30

  • Marrakech:RadissonBlu★★★★★Nights of October 31, Nov 1, 2 & 3

  • Casablanca: Hyatt Regency★★★★★
    Nights of November 5 & 6


$6,899 per person. NO SINGLE SUPPLEMENT


  • Hotels as described
  • Meals as indicated by
    B,L, D (Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner) 
  • English speaking Moroccan tour guide throughout Spacious bus and driver


  • Gratuities to Moroccan guide and driver
  • Customary Donations to Jewish institutions in Morocco
  • Round-trip international air.
  • Travel/trip interruption insurance. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED