Six GCC countries form first association to enhance regional Jewish life

Published: February 15, 2021

As Jewish life continues to flourish and grow in the Gulf, the local Jewish communities of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have come together to share resources by forming the Association of Gulf Jewish Communities (AGJC).

The AGJC is a network of the Jewish communities (people-to-people) from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries who are developing Jewish life in the region.

While each community is independent, they share a common goal and vision: for Jewish life in the GCC to flourish for the benefit of both residents and visitors.

Under the leadership of Rabbi Dr. Elie Abadie, based in Dubai, and president Ebrahim Dawood Nonoo, based in Bahrain, the group is partnering on different communal programs and services so that their resources will enhance each other.

The association’s board consists of members from all six Gulf countries who together will forge the path forward for growing Jewish life in the Gulf.

The Beth Din of Arabia, or Jewish court, is in the process of being established to assist with issues pertaining to personal status, inheritance and voluntary business dispute resolutions in the region. And the Arabian Kosher Certification Agency is being created to oversee kosher certification using the same set of standards throughout all six Gulf countries, thereby making it easier for Jewish individuals to live in or travel around the Gulf.

“The Gulf nations have been very supportive of the growth in Jewish life, but as more people move in and come to visit, we must tend to their educational, cultural, spiritual and religious needs by establishing programs and institutions to service these increased needs,” said Abadie.

“Each one of our communities has so much to offer the other. While maintaining our independence, this new association allows us to pool our resources to the betterment of all Jews in the Gulf,” said Dawood Nonoo. “While our Jewish community has been part of the fabric of Bahrain society for more than 100 years, we appreciate the needs of some of the smaller or newer communities in the region and believe we can help them flourish and navigate growth in this part of the world.”

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