Visiting a Jewish Cemetery and Jewish Synagogue in Marrakesh Morocco

Jewish life still exists in Morocco. Although it is estimated that there are only 2500 Jews in the country, Morocco has the largest Jewish population in the Arab world. If you know where to look, you can find signs of both past and present Jewish life. There are at least two Jewish Synagogues in Marrakesh. While the most active temple is in the modern part of town, it was the older Lazama Synagogue in Marrakesh that attracted us.

Hidden down an alleyway in the mellah (Jewish Quarter), Lazama Synagogue is located in a surprisingly bright and beautiful courtyard. The alley’s entrance is subtly guarded by security, and most people walk by without ever knowing it is there. At the end of the same street sits the Jewish cemetery.

The synagogue was locked, but we asked the caretaker and he let us in. This is similar to our experience getting into the Jewish Quarter in Fes Morocco.

Inside Lazama Synagogue in Marrakesh Morocco

Inside Lazama Synagogue in Marrakesh.

Outside the Lazama Synagogue, the courtyard is well tended to. Around the outer edges are curtains offering privacy to the members who live there.

Tiled wall inside the courtyard of Lazama Synagogue in Marrakesh Morocco

Beautiful, hand laid tiles covered many of the walls, often between the curtains. Color and patterns reflect the Jewish atmosphere, as does the Hebrew letters along the upper edge of the walls.

Curtains offer privacy to families living off the courtyard outside Lazama Synagogue in Marrakesh Morocco

The curtains surrounding much of the courtyard offer some privacy for the three Jewish families who live in this tiny, close-knit community.

Mezuzah at the entrance of Inside Lazama Synagogue in Marrakesh Morocco

A mezuzah hangs on the doorframe at the entrance to Lazama Synagogue. A mezuzah is a piece of parchment (often contained in a decorative case) inscribed with specified Hebrew verses from the Torah and hung at the door of a Jewish home. Some wear a mezuzah charm around their neck for protection. See our favorite collection here. 

Get your own Mezuzah. My two favourites are below or see the full collection of Mezuzah at Judaica Webstore

 Sukkah in Marrakesh

As we visited during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, there was a sukkah in the courtyard. You can learn more about the Sukkah and the holiday Sukkot at Wikipedia.

Sukkot inside the courtyard of Lazama Synagogue in Marrakesh Morocco

In its simplest form, a sukkah is a temporary hut constructed for use during the week-long Jewish festival of Sukkot.

Jewish Cemetery in Marrakesh

Back on the road, we could see the entrance to the Jewish cemetery at the end of the street. Its unassuming gate gave no hint to the fact that this is the largest Jewish cemetery in Morroco. While we have read that anyone can enter, the caretaker stopped us, only letting us pass after we told him we were Jewish.

View of the Jewish cemetery in Marrakesh Morocco

We can see the Jewish cemetery entrance doors from just outside the narrow alley that took us to the synagogue in Marrakesh

Jewish cemetery in Marrakesh Morocco

Well preserved markings cover grave sites with bodies buried three deep.

Jewish cemetery in Marrakesh Morocco

For Jews, it is tradition to leave stones at a grave site. While many people have different theories as to why this is done, there is no clear answer. We also saw this custom at the Jewish cemetery in Prague, Czech Republic.

Mausoleum and graves in the Jewish cemetery in Marrakesh

I am not sure if they called this building a mausoleum or not. Inside is the graves of two important rabbis.

Practical Information and History of Lazama Synagogue in Marrakesh:

  • The mellah is just outside the old medina.
  • In 1492, just after the Spanish Inquisition, the first synagogue was built at this location. However, the current temple was built in the early 1900s.
  • Lazama Synagogue is open Sunday-Friday at 9 am, closing at 1 pm on Friday and 5 pm on the other days. It is closed to the public on Saturday and on Jewish holidays.
  • If you struggle to find Lazama Synagogue in Marrakesh (and you will), for a small tip you can usually ask a local child to bring you right to the somewhat hidden, and unlabeled entrance.
  • Or, if you prefer, take a private guided tour in Marrakesh

Check prices and availability on the Jewish Heritage and Moorish Splendor Tour

  • There are other small synagogues located in the Marrakesh mellah, but they are not open to the public.
  • Wondering where to stay in Marrakesh? We stayed in the old medina, walking distance from Djemma el Fna.

Check prices and availability of Marrakesh accommodations on Booking.com or on HotelsCombined. 

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At the end of an unmarked alley sits a small Jewish community and colorful synagogue. Nearby, the largest Jewish cemetery in Morocco. See photos of both here. Jewish life still exists in Morocco, a country with the largest Jewish population in the Arab world. #Morocco #travel #JewishTravel #Jewish #synagogue

Read more about guest author Rhonda's adventures in Marrakesh Morocco. An expert at packing light, you can get a free copy of her packing list when you sign up to follow her travel blog, Albom Adventures:

Did you know there is more than one Jewish Synagogue in Marrakesh?

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About Guest Author Rhonda Albom

Capturing the essence of travel through photography, Rhonda Albom is the primary author and photographer at Albom Adventures and a regular guest poster at Kibitz Spot. She is an American expat based in New Zealand. She travels the world with her husband, and sometimes with their teenage daughters.

Comments

  1. Wonderful and very quaint 🙂

    Have a great MM!

  2. Looks beautiful and so peaceful!

  3. thanks for showing more of the interior!

  4. Very interesting! Lovely shots. Thanks for hosting.

  5. Beautiful setting. Must be quite warm and quiet to be able to live behind a curtain.

  6. Looks peaceful and beautiful, thank you for sharing.
    Cheers,
    Char

  7. Whiskey Talking says:

    How beautiful and colorful!

  8. Definitely a place I would like to visit. I will definitely check out LAUGH QUOTES to read more about your trip.

  9. Beautiful, I would love to visit there someday!

  10. Thanks for sharing these photos with us! And thanks for linking on my blog Amanda’s Books and More!

  11. Looks beautiful, and very similar to one I visited in Cochin, Southern India 🙂

  12. Mama Obito (Bali My Heart) says:

    Wow. This is very interesting. Would like to see more about it. I am dropping by here from Sakura Haruka linky party. Nice to know you.

  13. Beautiful place. Gorgeous tile work.

  14. What a lovely place!!!

    Paula
    lifeasweknowitbypaula.blogspot.com

  15. Beautiful space! Thanks for hosting and have a great week …and Thanksgiving.

  16. What wonderful photos, love the close up of the tiles!

  17. How cool! If those walls could talk 🙂

  18. Those are just lovely!

  19. Lovely! Thanks for sharing!

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