Young Muslims to participate in programming, visit Yad Vashem, and share their experiences learning about the Holocaust.
In an historic first, Jewish communities in the Gulf will commemorate Yom HaShoah together through a program hosted by the Association of Gulf Jewish Communities (AGJC), the people-to-people network of Jewish communities from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries that are developing Jewish life in the region.
The event will include young Muslims from Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) who will share their experience visiting Yad Vashem for the first time and learning about the atrocities of the Holocaust.
On Thursday, April 8, at 7:00 p.m. in Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia / 8:00 p.m. in Oman and the United Arab Emirates, the AGJC will host a webinar moderated by Emily Judd from the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity featuring young Muslims from Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates who will discuss their experiences visiting Yad Vashem.
Later on, they will be joined by members of the Jewish community in the Gulf and together, they will discuss how Muslims and Jews can work together to create a new Middle East.
The House of the Ten Commandments (the Jewish community of Bahrain) and the Jewish Council of the Emirates (JCE) will each hold their own separate Yom HaShoah events in addition to the AGJC one which they will both be participating in.
For the first time ever, the Jewish communities of Bahrain and Dubai will be participating in the Yellow Candle Project, the global communal effort to remember victims of the Holocaust, whereby members from each community will light a yellow candle in memory of the name of Jews who perished during the Shoah.
The project includes an educational website which allows participants to explore age-appropriate themes within Holocaust education. Both communities will light their candles on Wednesday, April 7 at 7:00 p.m. in Bahrain and Dubai. The House of the Ten Commandments invites the broader Jewish community to join them virtually for this event.
Additionally, the JCE will be hosting a Yom HaShoah commemoration in partnership with the Crossroads of Civilization Museum on April 7th at 7:00 p.m. that will feature the stories of Arab “Upstanders” who stood up against the Nazis, including Dr. Mohamed Helmy, King Mohammed V of Morocco and Imams in Algeria.
On Thursday, April 8, the Al Dhafra Air Base will organize a 24-hour walk/run around the base’s track to remember Holocaust victims and survivors. Runners will take turns carrying a US flag while paying tribute to the names and memories of those who perished.
There will also be a flag-folding ceremony the following day by their honor guard where they will present that flag to Alex Peterfreund, JCE co- founder and cantor and board member of the AGJC, in memory of his grandparents who died during the Holocaust. Rabbi Abadie will join them for the ceremony.
“It is truly remarkable that we can celebrate Yom HaShoah so openly this year in the Gulf – both as the broader Jewish community of the Gulf and in our individual communities,” said Rabbi Dr. Elie Abadie, the rabbi of the AGJC and the senior rabbi of the JCE.
“Yom HaShoah is both a day to commemorate the travesties which took place during the Holocaust as well as to look toward the future and build a better world for the next generation so that it does not happen again,” said Ebrahim Dawood Nonoo, president of the AGJC and The House of the Ten Commandments.
“Living in the Gulf, we are blessed not to experience anti-Semitism which is increasing in other areas of the world. This is due to our close relationships with our Muslim neighbors as we look out for one another. Therefore, it was important for us to also include a component of our program focused on how Muslims and Jews can build a new – and better – Middle East with a united front.”