Diplomats, Jewish community leaders and Emiratis discussed how Muslims and Jews in the region can work together to support each other at a Shabbat dinner hosted by the Association of Gulf Jewish Communities (AGJC), the people-to-people network of Jewish communities in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, last weekend in Dubai.
Ambassador Houda Nonoo of Bahrain, Marcy Grossman, Canadian Ambassador to the UAE; and Eitan Na’eh, Israel’s Head of Mission in Abu Dhabi, were all in attendance and spoke with the group, said a press release issued by the AGJC on Monday.
Grossman and Na’eh shared inspiring messages with the group focusing on the opportunities for Jewish life in the GCC region. This was followed by a panel discussion featuring the AGJC’s Rabbi Dr. Elie Abadie and board members Ambassador Houda Nonoo and Alex Peterfreund of the UAE. The three shared their hopes and vision for Jewish life in the Gulf over the next five years and answered questions from Emirati participants about how Muslims and Jews in the region can work together to support each other.
“The AGJC Shabbat dinner was a wonderful time for us to share the spirit of Shabbat with our Emirati friends and neighbours,” said AGJC Rabbi Dr. Eli Abadie.
“One of our guests shared that this was the first time she had experienced Shabbat in the UAE and that she hopes this will be the first of many. We’re looking forward to hosting her for many more Shabbat meals in the future,” he added.
Houda Nonoo commented, “The AGJC launched in February during the pandemic, and while we have hosted many virtual programmes for thousands of people, we wanted to host something in person now that the vaccination numbers have increased. We thought Shabbat would be the perfect opportunity to do so.”
The Association of Gulf Jewish Communities is the umbrella organisation for Jewish communities in GCC countries that are building and enhancing Jewish life in the region. While each community is independent, they share a common goal and vision – for Jewish life to flourish in the Gulf for the benefit of both residents and visitors. The AGJC oversees programming and services such as the Beth Din of Arabia, the Arabian Kosher Certification Agency, lifecycle events and other community programmes.