Jews in GCC Countries to Hold Joint Prayer Service Ahead of High Holidays

Published: August 17, 2021

Jewish residents of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries will come together online on Sunday for a joint prayer gathering, the Al Arabiya news outlet reports. The service, during which penitential prayers and poems known in Hebrew as Selichot are recited, is an ancient tradition held in synagogues around the world during the month before the High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The Association of Gulf Jewish Communities (AGJC) has organized this joint Selichot service, the first ever to be livestreamed to Jews living in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The service will reflect the Sephardic tradition. Selichot services for Jews following the Ashkenazic tradition that developed in Central and Eastern Europe are quite different from those that follow the Sephardic rite dominant in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries. “It was very important to us to host a genuine Sephardic service as we celebrate the rejuvenation of Jewish life in the region through the formation of the AGJC,” Rabbi Dr. Elie Abadie, the association’s spiritual leader, said. Ebrahim Dawood Nonoo the president of the association, said, “We created the AGJC with the goal of enhancing Jewish life in the region and as we approach our first Rosh Hashanah as a united Jewish community, we wanted to create a meaningful Selichot event which will do just that.” He added, “We are heading back to our roots with this program – an authentic Sephardic service from one of the notable locations for Jewish life in the region.”

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