- Figug Mellah
Figuig is an island of Morocco surrounded by Algeria. Located in southeastern Morocco, Figuig is a town composed of seven different communities, amid a leafy palm oasis in the shadow of Algerian peaks and desert. Like many oasis in southern Morocco, Figuig once had a small Jewish population, reportedly numbering about one hundred Jews in its mellah (Jewish quarter).
- Abandoned Village at Toughan
Midway along the main road between Taznakht to Taroudant, in the region of Tallouine, an abandoned village suddenly comes into view to the west. The outlines of about 30 crumbling old homes dot the crest of a hill. A series of terraces once used for farming descend toward the green riverbank below, where olive trees and saffron grow.
- Ait Benhadou Casbah
A late afternoon visit to the old casbah (fortress) of Ait Benhaddou (in southern Morocco, outside Ouarzazate) reveals a mystery. The casbah includes a small Jewish quarter, as tour guide Raphy Elmaleh notes. But where was the old community’s cemetery? A young man who runs a souvenir kiosk inside the casbah explains that the film “Gladiator” filmed scenes at the casbah. He was an extra during the filming, and during downtime he and his friends played soccer on the backside of the casbah’s hill. As they played a few hundred yards away from the Muslim cemetery, a bone suddenly emerged from the ground. The young man mentioned the incident to an elderly relative, who stated that the mound where the boys played soccer was the old Jewish cemetery.
- “Below the Jews” Oasis
Legend has it that this oasis derives its name from the nomadic Jews who once roamed the mountains above. Some of these Jews may have settled in the nearby, date farming village of Tiout, whose mellah (Jewish quarter) now lies in rubble.
- Telouet Salt Mines
Along the old camel caravan trail from Ouzerzazate to Marakesh — whose well-beaten path still marks the terrain — lies the salt-rich mines of Telouet. The area’s pinkish colored salt was prized for its medicinal properties, commonly being referred to as “live salt,” and was once able to command its weight in gold or ivory. The region’s Jews were given the concession to operate the mines and subsequent salt trade by a certain pahsa (local leader) named Tahami, in deference to their success in helping make the local economy flourish through their involvement in the trade of grains, almonds, dates, and other essentials.
- Old Alliance in Taroudant
The southern Moroccan city of Taroudant once was home to two Alliance schools. This video is of a visit to the original AIU campus that opened in 1929 and is situated just outside the Jewish cemetery on the southwestern flank of the walled city. A larger campus was built decades later in a different area. Both school buildings are used today as public schools, the Alliance having ceased operating them in 1964 following the near complete dissolution of the city’s Jewish community.