Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Last day- Great Group and Kesher Tours did a great job!!

Cindy Kline, our tour guide

Cinnamon and coriander fill the air as you walk through bazaars, Bright textiles catch your eye as you walk through the streets. Centuries of living mere miles from Europe and the Iberian Peninsula impressed upon the indigenous Berber people of northern Africa the imprint of a long parade of invaders, settlers and colonists. The result is today's Morocco, a modern nation where the blend of Berber, Jewish, Arbaic and European heritage infuses every souk, square, medina and oasis!!

We were a group of 17 people who got along great and enjoyed our company, our guide and the trip!! Led by Cindy Kline, who has been to Morocco numerous times, we learned and saw a lot!!

This was a kosher tour was organized by Kesher Tours.

PLEASE NOTE: Morocco is the first Arab country I have visited. Here is the preamble to their constitution:

Jews have been part of their country before Muslims and the King recognizes them as full citizens
I loved the tiles and mosaics everywhere!! Here are tile squares I've created so far:

Moroccan Squares 1
Moroccan Squares 2
Thinking about what art I want to create based on this trip. Stay tuned!!

Monday, July 29, 2019

Rabat, capital city of Morocco

Hassan Tower
Beautiful architecture in Rabat

Mausoleum of Mohammed V

Rabat, Morocco's capital, rests along the shores of the Bouregreg River and the Atlantic Ocean. It's known for landmarks that speak to its Islamic and French-colonial heritage, including the Kasbah of the Udayas. This Berber-era royal fort is surrounded by formal French-designed gardens and overlooks the ocean. The city's iconic Hassan Tower, a 12th-century minaret, soars above the ruins of a mosque. 

Neighboring the Hassan Tower is the Mausoleum of Mohammed V, named for the 20th-century Moroccan sultan and king interred within its ornate mosaic-covered walls. Lining Rabat's walled medina, a mazelike quarter, are market stalls selling traditional handicrafts, carpets and spices. In the city's modern quarter (Ville Nouvelle), the Archaeological Museum displays a vast collection of ancient statues and other artifacts from throughout Morocco. Among them are finds from Chellah, an Islamic burial ground built atop ancient Roman ruins, which lies just outside modern-day Rabat.

Sunday, July 28, 2019


From the rooftops in Azemmour

The mosque in Azemmour
The synagogue in Azemmour

The city of Azemmour lies at the Atlantic ocean coast, on the left bank of the Oum Er-Rbia River,  75 km southwest of Cacablanca features a Portuguese medina, which has three parts, a Jewish mellah, a kasbah, and the old medina. Jews once lived here but none do now.

Friday, July 26, 2019


Oceanfront in Casablanca
Rick's Cafe
Cityscape in Casablanca
Hassan II mosque
Synagogue in Casablanca
Synagogue in Casablanca
Rooftops in Casablanca
Synagogue in Casablanca

Museum of Moroccan Jewry

How many times have I seen the movie Casablanca? Too many to count. But, I was disappointed to find out that it was not filmed in Casablanca but in a Hollywood studio!! But now there is Rick's Cafe here!!

Casablanca is a port city and commercial hub in western Morocco, fronting the Atlantic Ocean. The city's French colonial legacy is seen in its downtown Mauresque architecture, a blend of Moorish style and European art deco. Standing partly over the water, the enormous Hassan II Mosque, completed in 1993, has a 210m minaret topped with lasers directed toward Mecca.
The Hassan II Mosque the largest mosque in Africa, and the 5th largest in the world. Its minaret is the world's tallest minaret at 210 metres. There still is a Jewish community in Casablanca, although it is shrinking.  Young people move away to Israel, the US, Canada, France.

The Museum of Moroccan Judaism, or El Mellah Museum, is a Jewish museum in Casablanca, Morocco. Established in 1997, it is the only museum devoted to Judaism in the Arab world. The 
museum, whose building originated in 1948 as a Jewish orphanage that housed up to 160 Jewish
youth, was renovated in 2013.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Essaouira and Safi

Busy port

Add caption

Fishing boats
Fish in Essaouira
Safi's Portuguese fortress

Safi's fortress

Essaouira is a port city and resort on Morocco’s Atlantic coast. It's the sardine capital of Morocco!! Its medina (old town) is protected by 18th-century seafront ramparts called the Skala de la Kasbah, which were designed by European engineers. Old brass cannons line the walls, and there are ocean views. Strong "Alizée" trade winds make the city’s crescent beach popular for surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing.

Jews constituted almost 40% of the population in the late 1800's. Former residents, mostly Jews, formed a committee to rehabilitate the town. Two historic synagogues are being restored and the Jewish cemetery right outside of town is extremely well-kept.

Safi is a port city on Morocco’s Atlantic coast. Ksar El Bahr, a 16th-century fortress built by Portuguese colonizers, is on the waterfront. In the old town, food and craft stalls line the Rue du Souq. Nearby, the National Museum of Ceramics is in another Portuguese-built fort. The centerpiece of the collection is decorated local pottery, created in workshops in the hillside Colline des Potiers quarter

Monday, July 22, 2019

Ourika Valley

Cooler than Marrakesh in the Atlas Mountains

Beautiful Valley along the Ourika River
Tomb of former Chief Rabbi Solomon Bel-Hench

It is well kept by a Muslim family and you are welcome to pray and lit candles in the compound around the grave

One of the greatest natural sightseeing spots is Ourika Valley located 30 km south of Marrakech. The Ourika Valley lies in the first foothills of the High Atlas, a beautiful expanse of luxuriant green, its adobe villages clinging to the mountainsides.

Located in the Ourika Valley is the ancient town of Aghbalou. Here you will find the 500-year-old tomb of a former Chief Rabbi of Marrakesh, Solomon Bel-Hench, which rests on the edge of a mountain above a river. One particular trait of Moroccan Judaism is the honor of holy men, and Rabbi Shlomo is one of the most revered Jewish saints in Morocco. Hananiyah Alfassi, one of the few remaining Berber Jews of the Valley, has faithfully guarded his tomb for over 30 years. Whilst here you can visit him and the tomb as well as take in the general scenery. You can also walk around the many herb gardens and have some traditional mint tea Berber style before heading back to Marrakesh.

Sunday, July 21, 2019


Koutoubia Mosque- largest mosque in Morocco

Jewish Merchant in his store

colorful stalls in the souk

Colorful wares

Plenty to buy

Spices for sale

Great buys

Tons of spices
Marrakesh, a former imperial city in western Morocco, is a major economic center and home to mosques, palaces and gardens. The medina is a densely packed, walled medieval city dating to the Berber Empire, with maze-like alleys where thriving souks (marketplaces) sell traditional textiles, pottery and jewelry. A symbol of the city, and visible for miles, is the Moorish minaret of 12th-century Koutoubia Mosque.

"The Red city" or "Pearl of the South" are but two names given to Marrakesh, the most beautiful city in Morocco which likes at the foothills of the Atlas Mountains.