Association of Gulf Jewish Communities will work to bolster Jewish life and include representatives from the United Arab Emirates, as well as much smaller communities in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, and Kuwait.
Jewish communities across six Arab Gulf states announced the establishment of a new association they hope will reinvigorate Jewish life in the region, Monday
The Association of Gulf Jewish Communities will include representatives of the largest Gulf Jewish community, located in the United Arab Emirates, as well as much smaller communities in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, and Kuwait.
Rabbi Elie Abadi of Dubai will serve as a spiritual leader, and Bahrain’s Ibrahim David Nunu will serve as president.
The association’s founders say their goal is to assist one another in bolstering Jewish life in the Arab Gulf. Preparations for the establishment of a regional kashrut organization to provide kosher food to anyone interested throughout the region have already commenced. At the same time, a rabbinical court will be established to answer any halachic questions that may arise.
While the Jewish community in UAE and Dubai in particular, is quickly growing, with rabbis, hundreds of members, synagogues, and a school, the situation in the other Gulf States is very different. These communities are each comprised of at most a few dozen Jews, as is the case in Bahrain. Under these conditions, they keep their identity secret and will continue to do so despite the establishment of the AGJC.
According to Rafael, a Jewish engineer from London who arrived in Kuwait City six months ago and will serve as one of the association’s representatives, “You can count the number of Jews who live in Kuwait on one hand.
He said he had moved to Kuwait for work, “and the truth is that society here is conservative, much like Saudi Arabia, but it’s tolerant and moral.”
AGJC Rabbi Abadi said, “We must take care of the educational, cultural, spiritual, and religious needs through the establishment of programs and institutions to serve these increasing demands.”
“Each one of our communities has so much to offer the other while maintaining its independence. This new association allows us to merge our resources for the betterment of all Jews in the Gulf,” AGJC President Nunu said.
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הוקם איגוד הקהילות היהודיות במפרץ
הקהילות בשש מדינות המפרץ הפרסי מתאחדות לארגון גג אחד • בראש הארגון יעמוד הרב אלי עבאדי מדובאי, שיהיה המנהיג הרוחני • “עלינו לטפל בצרכים הרוחניים”