Thursday, June 7th, 2012...10:10 am

Morocco: Post #4

Lunch in the Atlas Mountains

Though Shabbat was a day of rest, today was a day to connect to Morocco and its culture. We began the day by visiting the Jardin Majorelles, a beautiful garden designed by Jacques Majorelle at the beginning of the 20th century. In the gardens we saw beautiful Moroccan architecture surrounded by lush foliage. After that quick stop we headed out to the Atlas Mountains, to spend time in a Berber village.

Making tea at Berber village

The Berber people are native to the south of Morocco and greater Maghreb region, and significantly predate the Arab population. The village that we visited once had a Jewish population that was quite large, but all have now moved to other places. No visible sign remained to show that Jews had ever lived in this village. We sat and saw the process of making Moroccan mint tea; it is a much more intricate process than making any tea we have back home. On our way out we were hounded by men trying to sell myriad pieces of jewelry, daggers, and tzachkes.

After leaving the village, we visited a memorial for a Jewish Rabbi, Rabbi Shlomo bel Hassen.

At the rabbi's memorial

The memorial was built in 1976 following a donation from a woman whose wishes were granted after she visited the grave of the Rabbi. It was especially surprising for us that there was such reverence paid to this 14th century Rabbi – until only a few month ago a man lived in this memorial complex, taking care of it and allowing visitors to pay their respects. Visitors come often, on holidays, to ask the Rabbi for answers to their wishes. After placing candles in the chimney near his grave we headed back towards Marrakech, with a quick detour for a camel ride along the way.

 

Tufts Hillel - Morocco - Summer 2012

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