|We found some of Richard's forefathers buried near the back wall of the Marrakech cemetery|
I should add that while this is a Moslem country, at no time did we feel uncomfortable telling people we were Jewish or asking directions for Jewish places. It seems that the Moslems and Jews lived in relative harmony in Morocco for many centuries, although with the exception of Essaouira, they tended to concentrate in a part of the city known as the Mellah http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mellah
|Some of the earliest graves were not visible; they were beneath these stones.|
|Not all the stones memorial stones were old and dilapidated. Above and below are from more recent times, in memory of prominent members of the community.|
|One of the people who showed us around the cemetery. (Funny, you don't look Jewish)|
It was fascinating to see the variety of stones and read the names of families, many of which Richard knew. The Jews started to leave Morocco after it gained independence from France in independence, but left in large numbers in the 1960s and 1970s.
|This lovely little synagogue is one of the few remaining, and was hidden behind a crumbling stone wall.|
|Who knew? Essaouira was once a Jewish town known as Mogador. Two synagogues remain amongst the rubble|
She enjoyed volunteering by showing us around and felt it had been a very good day since she sold us two books on the history of Essaouira' Jewish community and received some additional donations!
We then came upon the Pinto synagogue. Here another amazing lady showed us around. I wondered if she was Jewish but she told us she was a Moslem. She also showed us how Christians, Moslems and Jews had all contributed to the maintenance of the synagogue. We heard a similar message in Fes.
We found the walled Jewish cemetery but we're unable to get in.
|We found the cemetery in Fes just outside the Mellah, the once Jewish quarter which today still is home to many jewelry stores, once the domain of the Jewish merchants.|
|We were curious about what appeared like a funeral pyre near the middle of the cemetery since religious Jews do not cremate bodies|
|If charity preserves you from death, our visits to Jewish landmarks in Morocco should keep us around a bit longer|
The nearby synagogue was still in use for high holidays although we think we were told there are only 50 families left. (All of these conversations were in French, and I didn't always understand everything I was being told.) There was also a museum but it was closed until 3pm. Unfortunately by the time it was opened, we were too wet and exhausted from our visit through the souk and didn't get back.
|Inside the Fes synagogue|
In Tangier we were taken by Momo, our guide for the day, to the synagogue which was under renovation. It was easy to find....it was on Rue Sinaguogue. It was quite impressive with many candelabras, and other Jewish artifacts that Carol noticed appeared to have been donated by families from around the world who had no doubt left Morocco.
|We were impressed by the mix of moorish and Jewish decoration|
We also found the cemetery and I was surprised to discover that here the stones were carved in Hebrew and Portuguese/Spanish, but not in French.