Isaac M. Wise Temple
Moroccan Discovery

Led by Renee and Rabbi Lewis Kamrass

Mar 12, 2023 - Mar 21, 2023

  • DESTINATION Morocco
  • Who’s Going Adults Only
  • Trip Type Congregational
  • Duration 10 DAYS
  • Group Size 30+
  • Price From $4,999
Program is tentative and subject to change. Connect with our Customer Care Team by calling: (888) 230-6008 Mon.-Thur. from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET).

YOUR journey

J² crafts journeys of inspiration, education, and Jewish connections to Israel and worldwide. We are guided by a simple but powerful concept: No two trips are the same; each experience should be personal, meaningful, and backed by superb service. Travel is not just about the places you visit, but the connections you make along the way.

This journey will be an exploration of the beauty, culture and mystery of Morocco. We will encounter the rich history of Jews in Morocco and get to know the Jewish community of today. This trip will celebrate the diversity of Morocco, from traditional Berber villages to mad-cap markets and lavish royal palaces, and will include meetings with locals.

  •   Art & Culture
  •   Food & Wine
  •   Archaeology
  •   Home Hospitality

Program Itinerary

DAY 1
ON THE WAY
Sun. Mar 12, 2023
  • depart the USA.
DAY 2
LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL
Mon. Mar 13, 2023
  • Arrival at Casablanca International Airport.
  • Meet your tour educator who will accompany you on this journey of education and inspiration.
  • The Glory of Moroccan Jewry: Guided visit through the Museum of the Jews of Morocco, for a glimpse into the rich and colorful world of Moroccan Jewry. The museum is the Arab world’s only Jewish museum. Its displays include ornate Jewish-Berber clothing and a reconstruction of a 13 century The lives of Morocco’s many Jewish goldsmiths are also explored while an exhibition examines the 2011 Moroccan Constitution which explicitly acknowledges the “Hebraic” contribution to the country’s national identity.
  • Check into the hotel.
  • An Inside Look at Moroccan Culture: Welcome dinner and orientation with your tour educator at a Jewish Club.
Overnight: Casablanca, Morocco Meals: Dinner
DAY 3
GIANT MOSQUES & ANCIENT RUINS
Tue. Mar 14, 2023
  • Breakfast at the hotel and check out.
  • Preserving the Past, Building a Future: Named after the famous Jewish Moroccan celebrations held at the end of Passover, Association Mimouna is an organization of Muslim students who honor the country’s Jewish traditions and promote Jewish-Muslim friendship. We’ll meet some of the students and hear of their activities, which range from kosher cooking workshops to organizing one of the Islamic world’s first conferences to commemorate victims of the Holocaust.
  • Visit the Beth – El Synagogue, which is considered the “main” synagogue of Casablanca and is still very active. Visit the famous Mosque of Hassan II (the third largest mosque in the world).
  • Lunch on own, en route
  • Depart Casablanca and drive to the ruins of Volubilis, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Founded in the 3rd century B.C.E., the town became an important outpost of the Roman Empire.
  • Continue to Fes, the most extensive medieval city in the Arab world, and the home of Jewish scholars and rabbis for hundreds of years.
  • Check into the hotel.
  • Dinner at a local restaurant.
Overnight: Fes, Morocco Meals: Dinner
DAY 4
MYSTERIES
Wed. Mar 15, 2023
  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Enjoy glorious views of Fes and its Medina (Walled City) from the Borj Sud. Jewish Life in Fes: Travel through time as we explore the long Jewish presence in Fes. Despite suffering from periodic persecutions, Fes’s Mullah (Jewish Quarter) was home to a thriving community. Its influential rabbis, scholars, and teachers included Rabbi Moses Maimonides (the Rambam), arguably the greatest of all Jewish religious thinkers and philosophers. Our tour will include:
    • The recently-restored Ibn Danan Synagogue, one of the oldest and most important synagogues in North Africa.
    • The El Fassiyin Synagogue: This one-vital synagogue had fallen into disrepair and was used as a boxing ring and carpet factory until it was recently restored with support from overseas funders and the Moroccan government.
    • The Fes Jewish cemetery where we’ll hear stories of some of the city’s legendary rabbis buried here.
  • Fes’s Medina is a dense maze of alleyways and streets and the largest car-free pedestrian zone in the world. Don’t worry, our tour educator knows the way through this UNESCO World Heritage Site that still includes many buildings, mosques, and gates from the 12the century. The visit includes:
    • A glimpse of local craftsmen at work in their shops as they weave, embroider, carve and chisel using ancient techniques.
    • A tour of the Madrasa Bou Inania. This Madrasa (Islamic religious college) was established in 1351 and is famed for its architecture, minaret and geometric decorations. It is one of the few Islamic sites in Morocco accessible to non-Muslim visitors.
  • Lunch at a restaurant en route before continuing on our tour:
    • Visit the Nejjarine Museum of Wooden Arts and Crafts, a beautifully renovated caravanserai that preserves the tools and lifestyles of the traveling merchants who would lodge and sell their goods here.
    • Take a look at an ancient center of scholarship. The University of Al-Karaouine is believed to be the oldest continuously operating university in the world. Non-Muslims can view it only from the outside.
    • Fes is also known for its leather goods and the tanneries that provide its distinctive smell. We’ll visit the Chouara Tannery where traditional ways of making leather are still practiced.
  • Return to the hotel.
  • Dinner on your own and evening at leisure
Overnight: Fes, Morocco Meals: Lunch
DAY 5
ROYAL RABAT
Thu. Mar 16, 2023
  • Breakfast at the hotel and check out
  • Depart for Meknes
  • City of a Tyrant: Witness the greatness and brutality of Moulay Ismail (1634-1727), the king who turned Meknes into a royal city. We’ll see some of the beautiful buildings built during his long reign with their skillful blend of Islamic and European architecture. But at his finely decorated Mausoleum, we’ll also consider the brutality of “Moulay the Bloodthirsty” who is said to have ordered the walls of Meknes to be decorated with the heads of 10,000 of his enemies.
  • Wives and Horses: While the Torah warns that a king should not acquire extra horses, a multitude of wives or excessive amounts of silver and gold. Moulay Ismail took a different approach. He is believed to have had 2,000 wives and concubines who bore him 867 children but he seems to have been fondest of his horses. We’ll visit the Royal Stables which housed his 12,000 horses. Each horse had a separate groom slave to look after it. We’ll also see evidence of the huge earthquake that destroyed much of Meknes in 1755.
  • What Was and What Remains: Meet with the caretaker of an old Jewish synagogue and discuss the transformation of Jewish life in the city and the country. In 1948, Morocco had perhaps 250,000 Jews – the largest Jewish population in the Muslim world. Today, only a few thousand remain. We’ll talk about the rich history of the Jewish community and the realities of Jewish life in Morocco today.
  • Lunch, en route. Continue to Rabat, Morocco’s capital.
  • The Kings and the Jews: Our tour of Morocco’s royal capital will allow us to experience the huge role, historically and currently, that the king plays in Moroccan life.
    • We’ll walk around the walls of Rabat’s Royal Palace, the primary (although certainly not the only) residence of the current king Mohammad VI, and ask whether modern Morocco is an autocracy, a democracy or something in-between.
    • ‘There are no Jewish citizens, there are no Muslim citizens, they are all Moroccans” – Muhammad V. Visit the majestic mausoleum of Mohammad V, Morocco’s king during WWII, and hear how he helped preventing the Nazis from deporting Morocco’s Jews to the death camps of Europe.
    • We’ll also visit the mausoleum of his son, Hassan II, who ruled over Morocco during the so-called “Years of Lead”. We’ll hear about Morocco’s divisions and human rights during this period and the assassination attempts on the king’s life. It was during Hasan’s reign that most of the country’s Jews migrated to Israel, Canada, and France.
  • Walk through the markets, jewelry stores and grand old diplomatic complexes of Rabat’s Medina (Walled City) as we make our way up to the Kasbah des Udayas. This citadel is the oldest part of Rabat, dating back to the 12th century. Sitting high above the river and the Atlantic Ocean, it’s a treat for the eyes with gorgeously decorated gates, blue and whitewashed homes and French-influenced gardens.
  • Check into the hotel.
  • Dinner on own and evening at leisure.
Overnight: Rabat, Morocco
DAY 6
MARRAKECH - ONE SENSE AT A TIME
Fri. Mar 17, 2023
  • Breakfast at the hotel and check out.
  • Depart for Marrakech.
  • Carnivals and Piety in Marrakech: An introduction to this whirlwind of a city, which combines the madcap energy of its marketplaces with the serene rhythms of religious life.
  • Lunch, en route.
  • Visit the Slat el Azama Synagogue. Although few if any Jews now live in the Mellah (Jewish Quarter), this synagogue is still active and bears witness to the glories of the past.
  • Check into the hotel with time to freshen up and prepare for Shabbat.
  • Kabbalat Shabbat services at the Beth El Synagogue.
  • Shabbat home hospitality dinner with members of the local Jewish community.
Overnight: Marrakech, Morocco Meals: Shabbat dinner
DAY 7
SHABBAT
Sat. Mar 18, 2023
  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • We’ll tour the Medina (Walled City) of Marrakech, also known as the Red City for the red walls that surround it. The Medina is a thrilling, multifaceted experience. Highlights of the tour include:
    • Bab Agnaou – a huge, superbly decorated gate allowing entrance into this royal city.
    • The Bahia Palace is considered the greatest palace of its time. Its architecture, gardens, and design render it one of the great achievements of Moroccan culture.
    • The Saadian Tombs provide lavish insights into the wealth and power structure of the Saadian dynasty, which ruled Morocco from 1549 to 1659. Their greatest ruler Ahmed Al Mansour is buried in the magnificent Chamber of 12 Pillars in a tomb made from Italian marble and gilded with pure gold. Less exalted princes and rulers from the dynasty are buried nearby. The next circle in the Saadi power structure, including royal wives, chancellors, and some Jewish advisers, were “relegated” to graves in the still impressive gardens.
  • Lunch, en route.
  • Explore Djemaa El Fna Square, an enormous marketplace, is one of Africa’s most astonishing sites. According to one theory, its name means an assembly of the dead and refers to the public executions that used to take place here. However, this is a place teeming with life. Get ready for amazement and a daily carnival of snake charmers, street vendors, musicians and story-tellers.
  • Free time to explore Marrakech’s enormous marketplace on own.
  • Ben Kodesh Lechol: Havdallah and dinner at local restaurant.
Overnight: Marrakech, Morocco Meals: Dinner
DAY 8
CITY OF MANY LAYERS
Sun. Mar 19, 2023
  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • The Role of the Imam in the Moroccan Society: What is Islam in Morocco and What Makes It Different? Dialogue with a Professor of English who facilitates a dialogue with a local Imam.
  • The Taste of Morocco: Savor the flavors, spices, and foods of Morocco in a cooking workshop at a women’s cooperative, where fun and laughter are a crucial part of the menu. And after the cooking comes the eating with a delicious lunch of our own making.
  • The French Connection: Morocco is a melting-pot of identities and influences ranging from its original tribes to its more recent visitors including the French, who ruled over much of the country from 1912 to 1955.
    • We’ll spend time in the French Quarter and visit the enchanting Majorelle Garden of the French painter and botanist Jacques Majorelle. The garden and buildings took him 40 years to create but you’ll think it was time well spent as we wander by paths and sparkling pools shaded by gorgeous trees and plants from around the world.
    • The Berber Museum, also housed in the garden, is a tribute to the Berber tribes and people who have lived in North Africa for thousands of years. It includes beautifully curated exhibits of traditional Berber art, clothing, and jewelry.
    • We’ll continue to the Yves St. Laurent Museum. It showcases the haute couture culture and accessories of this legendary French fashion designer, who lived for many years in Marrakech.
  • Dinner on own and evening at leisure.
Overnight: Marrakech, Morocco Meals: Lunch
DAY 9
MAGICAL MOUNTAINS
Mon. Mar 20, 2023
  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Taking the High Road: A 45-minute drive will take up from the thriving city of Marrakech to the spectacular nature and traditional villages of Toubkal National Park. These mountains are the highest in North Africa and provide a spectacularly different view of Morocco than we have encountered so far. The snow-capped peaks, dense forests and pure mountain air will make for a wonderful day.
  • 4X4 vehicles will take us along the winding road that leads from the valley of Asni, in the foothills of the mountains, past the gorges of Moulay Brahim and the village of Imlil. And looming over us will be the spectacular sight of the 14,000 ft high Toubkal Mountain.
  • The World of the Berbers: We will stop at the village of Armed to experience the world of the Berbers, an indigenous people of North Africa. This town, 6000 ft above sea level and inhabited by around 2,000 people, provides an authentic example of how traditional Berber culture and language remains vibrant today, particularly in the mountain ranges of this area. Explore this remote village, find out about the local economy, and learn about changes and continuity in the Berber way of life.
  • Where Hospitality is King: One of the features and joys of Berber life is their famed hospitality. Experience it firsthand as we’re welcomed into a local family home. With your guide as translator, you’ll hear about your hosts and their background while drinking the beverage closely associated with hospitality and friendship in Morocco: mint tea.
  • Baking and Breaking Bread Together: Everywhere in Morocco, meals are accompanied by a delicious, thick form of bread. See the traditional method of baking the bread and try your own hand at this ancient skill. Afterwards, we’ll sit down for a Berber lunch including tajine dishes, the slow cooked savory stews that for centuries has been the taste of North Africa.
  • Return to Marrakech.
  • What We’ve Seen and Felt while Exploring Morocco: Our farewell to Morocco dinner will include the chance to share experiences and discoveries that have inspired us during our journey.
Overnight: Marrakech, Morocco Meals: Lunch, Dinner
DAY 10
UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN
Tue. Mar 21, 2023
  • Breakfast at the hotel, followed by check-out.
  • Transfer to Marrakech international Airport for your return flight to the USA.

RATES & LODGING

participants
30+
Cost p/p in double room
$4,999
Cost p/p in single room
$6,439

Casablanca: Sofitel Tour Blanche

Fes: Marriott Hotel Jnan Palace

Rabat: Tour Hassan Palace

Marrakech: Naoura Barriere

What to expect

  • 8 nights' accommodations.
  • 8 days of touring with a tour educator and a local guide, 7 days of touring in a luxury, air-conditioned bus.
  • Group arrival transfer & assistance at the airport.
  • Group departure transfer & assistance at the airport.
  • Daily breakfast, 3 lunches & 5 dinners.
  • Water on the bus.
  • Credit card fees.
  • Porterage at the hotels.
  • All site entrance fees & program fees as per your final program.
  • Credit card fees.
  • Flights to & from Morocco.
  • COVID related expenses, including tests.
  • Evening transportation when dinner is not included.
  • Amendments to the program: In the event that any sites, programs or meals etc. are added to the program, an additional fee may be required.
  • Personal extras: Items of personal nature such as laundry, wines, mineral water, beverages, coffee, tea, food other than the table d’hotel menu, passport and visa fees, insurance, and foreign port taxes, unless otherwise specified.
  • US and foreign airport taxes, Q fuel surcharge and border taxes when applicable.
  • Value Added Tax is currently not applicable to tourists visiting Israel. Should the law change, you will be notified accordingly, and VAT will be added to your final invoice.
  • Gratuities: Recommend guidelines for tipping are provided in the terms section.
  • Please review our terms & conditions (T&C’s) or request that we send you our full T&C’s. Until you do that, here is the small print, and other stuff you may want to know:
  • Validity | All prices quoted are based on exchange rates as of the proposal date and are subject to change without notice. Rates are per person and are based on shared twin room occupancy.
  • How to Make a Reservation | The quickest way to make a reservation is to register online or contact us by email. We accept VISA, MasterCard, and American Express credit cards. A non-refundable deposit is required in order to complete the registration process.
  • For any assistance with this registration process or other trip-related queries, please email Customer Care: [email protected]
  • Payments | The balance of your payment is due 90 days before your trip begins, or as specified in your invoice. You will receive an email reminder 2 weeks before this date. Various payment options are available as follows:
  • Credit card | We accept Visa, Mastercard and American Express. Please check with your credit card provider regarding international processing fees. We are unable to process payments of over $1,000 over the phone. Please submit payment online via a credit card or by wiring funds via your bank.
  • Domestic bank wire transfer | Payment should be wired in the same currency that is listed on your invoice. Please add the name of your group or invoice number as a reference and forward a copy of the transfer receipt by email. The bank transfer should clearly state the beneficiary’s name on the wire transfer.
  • Please use the following information: Investors Bank 101 JFK Parkway, Short Hills, NJ 07078 ABA Routing Number: 221272031
  • Beneficiary Instructions: For the benefit of J2 Adventures. Account number: 1001858331
  • J² Adventures reserves the right to automatically cancel your reservation on that date and it may be subject to reconfirmation should the final payment not be received.
  • Cancelation Policy | All cancelations need to be made in writing. The cancelation fee depends on the date when we receive written notification of your request to cancel your booking. Please note that the deposit is non-refundable.
  • Cancelation fees | Cancelations made 90 or more days prior to departure incur the loss of the deposit. Cancelations made 89 to 46 days prior to departure incur the loss of 50% of the full trip cost. Cancelations made 45 days or less prior to the departure incur the loss of 100% of the full trip cost.
  • Cancelation fees may also include: Hotel or supplier cancelation fees. J2 Adventures reserves the right to adjust its terms of payment, including cancelation policies and initial deposits. Please refer to the small print tab on your trip’s webpage or in your proposal for your cancelation policy and fees.

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