Casablanca is respectively admired for its longstanding Jewish Heritage. Casablanca is the perfect place to take a Jewish Heritage Tour. The Jewish community in Casablanca, Morocco has a strong history that has survived along with it’s synagogues, cemeteries, monuments and shrines. When visiting Casablanca a Jewish Heritage tour from the Port or from your hotel offers insight into the ties of the historic Jewish community and what remains today.
The 4,500 Casablancan Jews in Casablanca live outside the mellah in the European city, where they worship in over 30 synagogues, eat in kosher restaurants, entertain themselves in community centers, and attend Jewish schools and social service centers. Jewish Casablancans worship at Temple Beth El, the largest synagogue and an important community center, seating 500 persons. The Jewish community of Casablanca also contributed to the construction of the Hassan II Mosque, the second largest in the world. On a Jewish Heritage Tour it is possible to visit the Muslim shine of Sidi Belyout. Some Jews visit annually the Muslim shrine of Sidi Belyout, Casablanca’s patron saint. Many Jews of Casablanca celebrate the hiloula of the saint Yahia Lakhdar in Ben Ahmed, about an hour south of Casablanca near the town of Settat.
On a Jewish Heritage Tour you will start your morning off visiting Casablanca’s Jewish Sacred sites and then continue seeing the highlights of old Casablanca. The synagogues, cemeteries, monuments and communal institutions of Casablanca show how important the city has been to the Jewish community during the twentieth century.
Visit Temple Beth-El, the Jewish Synagogue in Casablanca. Beth-El, is considered the center piece of a once vibrant Jewish community. Its stained glass windows and other artistic elements, is what attracts tourists to this synagogue.
The mellah of Casablanca is young by Moroccan standards, not much more than a century old. It assaults the senses in the evening, with a sea of women in brightly colored djellabahs carrying and selling fruit and vegetables throughout the cramped, narrow streets. While Jews no longer live in the mellah, kosher butchers are found in the old market, next to other butchers selling horse meat. The Jewish cemetery in the mellah is open and quiet, with well-kept white stone markers in French, Hebrew and Spanish. Once a year, Casablancans celebrate a hiloula, or prayer festival, at the tomb of the Jewish saint, Eliahou.
Visit the Museum of Moroccan Judiasm in Casablanca. The Museum of Moroccan Judaism of Casablanca is a museum of history and ethnography, created by the Jewish Community of Casablanca in 1997 with the support of the Foundation of Jewish-Moroccan Cultural Heritage. The Jewish Museum in Casablanca is tucked into a residential neighborhood and holds a treasure trove with it being the Arab region’s only Jewish Museum. It uses world-class standards of conservation for its national and international collections. The Museum of Moroccan Judaism presents religious, ethnographic and artistic objects that demonstrate the history, religion, traditions and daily life of Jews in the context of Moroccan civilization.
The Jewish Heritage tour includes a visit of the Jewish Museum in Casablanca also referred to as the Museum of Moroccan Judaism which covers an area of 700 square meters, is the first of its kind in the Arab world. It consists of:
- A large multipurpose room, used for exhibitions of painting, photography and sculpture
- Three other rooms, with windows containing exhibits on religious and family life (oil lamps, Torahs, Chanukah lamps, clothing, marriage contracts (ketubot) Torah covers… and exhibits on work life;
- Two rooms displaying complete Moroccan synagogues;
- A document library, a video library and a photo library.
- The Museum offers guided visits, sponsors seminars and conferences on Jewish-Moroccan history and culture, and organizes video and slide presentations. On special request, it organizes group visits in Arabic, French, English or Spanish.
Casablanca’s Jewish Cemetery:
The Jewish cemetery in the mellah is open and quiet, with well-kept white stone markers in French, Hebrew and Spanish. Once a year, Casablancans celebrate a hiloula, or prayer festival, at the tomb of the Jewish saint, Eliahou.
Casablanca’s Jewish Club: Option – If time allows.
Lunch Options: Kosher Food in Casablanca, Seafood or Moroccan Fare.
Kosher Jewish Lunch:
- Cercle de L’Alliance is one of the centers/buildings where Jews from Casablanca hang around. The bottom floor/lobby is where people sit around, smoke cigars or cigarettes and socialize. You will also find a small bar and a mid size restaurant on the same floor with great appetizers and outstanding food
- D.E.J. J. is a restaurant that primarily serves dairy, pizzas, salads and pastas. Meat is not served here.
- La Truffe offers skewered chicken accompanied with sides of bread, salad, olives and pickles. It is the most reasonably priced kosher restaurant located in the downtown area of Casablanca across from the medina.
Searfood or International Fare:
An international seafood restaurant by Casa’s port, the Corniche, or reknowned seafood haunt, El Mer or Rick’s Cafe- a famous Piano Bar run by an American and named after the Movie “Casablanca.”.
Hassan II Mosque:
After lunch visit the Mosque of Hassan II. Casablanca is home to the Hassan II Mosque, designed by the French architect Michel Pinseau. It is situated on a promontory looking out to the Atlantic, which can be seen through a gigantic glass floor with room for 25,000 worshippers. Next visit the Hassan II Mosque.The Mosque of Hassan II’s promontory offers lovely views overlooking Casa in the residential Afna quarter.
Casablanca Habous Market & Cooperatives:
- End the day with a visit to Casablanca’s Habous Market and Local Casablanca cooperatives. Shop and Explore local crafts and wood work traditions, leather and carpets.
For more information about Travel and Tours to Morocco plus highlights on Moroccan culture visit Morocco’s Imperial Cities,Seaside Resorts,Sahara Desert, Berber villages, A Taste of Morocco,Magical Kasbahs, Ruins & Waterfalls, Absolute Morocco, The Best ofMarrakech, Fes, and Ouarzazate
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