Sunday, June 3rd, 2012...11:08 am

Day 1 in Morocco

Singing and dancing with elderly at the JDC-supported home for the elderly

Hi everyone!

We are excited to be writing to you from our beautiful hotel in Casablanca! This post is about our first day in Morocco.

We were greeted at the airport by the wonderful JDC staff, and got started with our touring right away!

We began the day with a delicious breakfast at a café overlooking the Atlantic Ocean (#CasablancaShore).  We enjoyed authentic Moroccan tea, coffee, sugar cubes, croissants and kosher packaged cookies all together!  From breakfast, we walked over to the Mosque Hassan II, the third largest mosque in the world (after Mecca and Medina) and the largest in Morocco!

Mosque Hassan II

The mosque’s minaret, measuring at 200m is the highest in the world!  The stunning architecture included an intricately detailed ceiling that can open up to let the sunlight in, gorgeous chandeliers, and towering beams.  According to our guide (and Obama look-alike) the project, which was completed by the previous kingdom in only six years, cost over $800 million.

We were inspired to take artsy photographs (some were more talented than others) and consider how the ornate quality contributes to the prayer experience.  The mosque, which can hold over 100,000 people, is a striking example of the integral role of religion in Moroccan daily life.

After our wonderful tour and quick check in to the hotel, we enjoyed a three-course lunch at one of five private Jewish clubs in Casablanca.  The salads, grilled meats, and incredible desserts offered us a delicious introduction to Moroccan cuisine (even the vegetarians among us agreed!)

Though we were stuffed and extremely jet-lagged, we trekked on to visit some of the most important and valued Jewish health institutions of the community.

We were amazed to learn about the extent of services offered by JDC funding for free healthcare, welfare and social opportunities for the less privileged and elderly in the Jewish community.  We put up a mezuzah in a new apartment for an elderly Jewish man, we danced with residents of a local nursing home, we heard from the community caretakers at the Jewish health clinic, and several of us were even blessed by the community elders to be fortunate enough to raise our own Jewish families very soon.

Putting up a mezzuzah at an apartment at the JDC-supported home for the elderly

After a short rest, we were joined by the US Consul General for dinner, and learned some more about the American-Morocco relationship.  Even though we have only been here for one day, it is already clear that the small Jewish community is extremely vibrant, close-knit and grateful for our being here with them.

Aurevoir for now!

Love,
Jordan Dashow and Shayna Schor

Tufts Hillel - Morocco - Summer 2012

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