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Are you Jewish and want to know Morocco? Discover Jewish culture in Morocco

When two religious cultures mix and live together

Jewish travellers in Morocco


There are many places of Jewish culture in Morocco, and with the “normalisation” of relations between Morocco and Israel, Morocco is preparing to welcome more and more travellers of the Jewish religion who want to get to know the country.

Discover with us 11 places in Morocco that preserve the presence of the Jewish community.

A brief history of the Jewish community in Morocco


A few lines of history to describe the presence of the Jewish community in Morocco, without going into too much detail.

There are three salient moments:

  • a phase preceding the establishment of Islam (a period lasting until about 700): the first Jewish settlements in Morocco appear at the time of King Solomon and the most important ones date back to the period of the Carthaginians;
  • the Islamic phase in which in a first part, Jews and Muslims lived without great distinction, while in a second phase, Jews lived in separate quarters. This part of history is the most troubled: during this period, Muslims demanded submission from Jews and Christians. There was also persecution, especially of the Jewish community in Fes.
  • the phase of French colonialism, which offered Jews certain privileges. But there were also some episodes of violence. At the end of the Protectorate, many Moroccan Jews left the country to join Israel or to emigrate to other States.

The Jewish community in Morocco today


You should know that the Jewish community has been large in Morocco in the past, up to 250,000 Jews present in the country.

However, a document dated 2011 estimates that there are about 3,000 Jews in Morocco today, mainly concentrated between Casablanca and Rabat.

Places of Jewish culture in Morocco


Although the Jewish community in Morocco has been significantly reduced, vestiges of Jewish culture are still alive and well.

So let’s go and discover them.

Jewish culture in Casablanca


  • The most interesting place is the Museum of Moroccan Judaism (cover photo), the first one created in the Arab world. The museum offers an exhibition of religious, ethnographic and artistic objects that tell the history, religion, traditions and daily life of the Jews in Morocco. The museum also offers guided tours.
  • The Mellah (the Jewish quarter)
  • Temple Beth-El and the 500-seat Casablanca Synagogue (located in the Mellah). This is the largest synagogue in Casablanca; Synagogue Em Habanim.
  • The Jewish Cemetery is located within the Mellah and can be visited.


Please note: there are Kosher restaurants in Casablanca.

Jewish culture in Rabat


On Rabat also there is the Mellah where some Jewish families still live.

In the capital of Morocco, we find the Talora Synagogue.

Note: there are kosher restaurants in Rabat.

Jewish culture in Meknes


Jews arrived in Meknes before the advent of the Islamic religion, even of Phoenician times.

And it is in Meknes that we find the most important and oldest traces of the Jewish community in Morocco.

Meknes is the birthplace of Rabbi Hayyim Ben Moses Attar, a Kabbalist born in 1696 and known throughout the Jewish world for his commentary on the Pentateuch.

The Jewish Mellah of Meknes does not have the importance of those of Fes and Marrakech, but it is just as characteristic, with its narrow alleyways and colourful courtyards. The presence of Jewish history is evident in the Jewish epitaphs that date back to Christian times.

During the reign of Moulay Ismail, the sultan ensured that the Jewish community enjoyed the same rights as the Muslim community.

The tomb of Rabbi David Benmidan is located in Meknes and is a place of pilgrimage.

There is also the new Mellah, home to eleven synagogues, eight of which are still in use.

Cimitero ebraico a Fes

Jewish culture in Fes


In Fes, there are many testimonies of Jewish culture, starting with the country’s oldest Mellah.

Let’s take a look at what to visit:

  • The Yeshivot (religious schools), which trained important scholars, including Maimonides, who lived in Fes from 1159 to 1165.
  • The Mellah, which has a history of around 600 years.
  • The Jewish cemetery: contains the graves of many Jewish ‘saints’, more than anywhere else in Morocco. The cemetery is adjacent to the Royal Palace and the recent Jewish Museum which is located inside the Em Ha Banim Synagogue. One of the most famous figures is the story of the beautiful Jewish Lalla Solica, who was killed for refusing to convert to Islam. Solica was born in Tangier in 1817. It is said (but this is only one hypothesis) that at the age of 16 she was courted by a Muslim man and refused to marry him. To force her hand, the man went to the caid, the local government official. The man told the caid that Solica could not refuse his offer of marriage because she was no longer Jewish, having converted to Islam of her own free will. When she was called before the caid, she refused to admit that she had converted. The sultan summoned her to Fes, where she again denied her conversion. As a result, she was sentenced to death for apostasy and killed in 1834. If you want to know more, read the stories related to this character here.
  • The “House of Maimonides“, who lived in Fes from 1159-1165. He was persecuted by the Almohad dynasty and emigrated to escape forced conversion.
  • In Fes, there is a kosher restaurant and a modern synagogue in the Centre Communautaire ‘Maimonides’.
    A visit to the two restored synagogues is very interesting: Aben Danan and Fassiyine.

Near Fes, and more precisely in Sefrou (the capital of cherries), we find the Bhalil cemetery, where Rabbi Lahou Harroch and Rabbi Moshe Raphael Elbaz are buried. The Mellah of Sefrou occupies half of the old town. The Mellah – in a pedestrian zone – is characterised by houses with wooden balconies and white walls.


Please note: there are Kosher restaurants in Fes.

Mellah di Marrakech

Jewish culture in Marrakech


The Mellah of Marrakech was founded in 1558 by Moulay Abdallah. Here the Jewish community exercised various professions: from bankers to jewellers, from tailors to traders, especially in sugar. The Jewish community enjoyed autonomy but could not own any property outside the Mellah.

To visit:

  • Beth-El Synagogue, Impasse Des Moulins (American Centre) – Gueliz
  • the Lazama Synagogue which is still used by the Jewish community present in Marrakech
  • the Miaara, where the Jewish cemetery is located


Please note: there are Kosher restaurants in Marrakech.

Jewish culture in Essaouira


In Essaouira (the ancient Mogador) we can still find houses painted blue and bearing the Star of David, even though the Jewish community has practically disappeared as families have moved to other states.

In spite of this, there are a few points worth visiting:

  • the Synagogue inside the Mellah (open for pilgrims and tourists)
  • there are also two Jewish cemeteries

Please note: there are no kosher restaurants in Essaouira.

Jewish Culture in Chefchaouen


In Chefchaouen, legend has it that the colour of the ‘Blue Pearl’ comes precisely from the presence of a strong Jewish community that fled the Spanish Inquisition.

It is said that the colour comes from Tekhelet, the dye used for prayer shawls.

However, there are no synagogues, schools or other typical facilities and no kosher restaurants.

Jewish Culture in the Dades Valley


It may seem unbelievable to you, but Jewish communities were also present in rural areas.

In Tineghir, there is a beautiful, ancient and colourful Mellah.

Near Kelaat M’Gouna, we find Tiliit, known as the ancient city of the Jews of Dades.

The fortress of Tiliit was the centre of a Jewish region ruled by the Spanish-Jewish family of Perez from the end of the 15th century until the reign of Moulay Ismail in 1672.

Jewish culture in Tetouan


In this beautiful city (Tetouan), a UNESCO World Heritage Site, we find the Jewish cemetery and the Mellah.

Don’t miss the Synagogue Museum, home of Rabbi Bengualid, run by the Moroccan Jewish community.

Jewish Culture in Tangier


Some suggestions of places to visit in Tangier:

  • the Mellah in the old town
  • the Nahon Temple
  • the Chocron Temple
  • several synagogues

Jewish culture in Azemmour


The Jewish area of the medina offers a glimpse into their history in Morocco.

The Jews of Azemmour were mainly Portuguese exiles who arrived here in 1496: fishermen, artisans and some wealthy merchants.

The community flourished under the subsequent Portuguese occupation in 1513 and Jews who had been forced to convert to Christianity (Marranos) were allowed to go to the interior (Fes) where they could return to their Jewish faith.

Travel with the service of Kosher Food


If you wish to make a 100% kosher trip, consider these points:

  • Carry out an itinerary through the imperial cities, where you can most easily find dedicated restaurants
  • Use a paid catering service, with cooks travelling with you and preparing the meals, so you can visit other parts of the country. Of course, this solution is more expensive.

If you wish to observe Shabbat, let us know so that we can organise your itinerary better.

Travel restrictions for those with Israeli stamps


Jewish (and non-Jewish) travellers who have visited Israel or hold an Israeli passport may enter Morocco without any problem.

Jewish Tour Morocco: suggestions for a Tailor Made travel


We conclude our “tour” of the beauty of Jewish culture in Morocco.

Have you seen how many things to discover?

We have not listed them all for reasons of space, but we have given you some ideas for planning a different trip.

Keep in mind that if you want to mix the sights of the two cultures, you will need a lot of time.

You need to make a focused choice.

For a long tour, which touches on all these places, you will need at least 15 days. You can find an example of an itinerary here.

If you would like to dedicate some time to the most representative sites of Arab culture, together with those of Jewish culture, you will need to add a few extra days for the same type of itinerary.

What do you think, have we piqued your curiosity? We think so!

So contact us to requiry a tailor made Jewish Tour Morocco , accompanied by an experienced driver, to make the most of your trip.

Remember, it doesn’t cost anything to ask ?

If you would like to receive a proposal, contact us to organize your private tour!

How to do it? Write a message here (also indicate a mobile phone, so that we can notify you when we send the proposal; sometimes emails end up in spam).

We reply immediately and normally process your proposal within 48 hours. The quote is free of charge.

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