Manama cemetery is the only Jewish burial ground still operating the Arab Gulf region.
The Association of Gulf Jewish Communities (AGJC) is launching a fundraising campaign to restore the more than 100-year-old Jewish cemetery in Bahrain, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports.
The burial ground in the capital, Manama, holds special significance as the only operating Jewish cemetery in the Arab Gulf region. The cemetery was established by the Jewish community in the 1930s, along with the Manama synagogue, which remains the only functioning synagogue in the GCC.
The synagogue was recently renovated, and prayer services were held publicly for the first time in decades.
The campaign will kick off this Sunday evening with a tree-planting ceremony as part of festivities to mark the start of the Jewish holiday of Tu B’Shevat, known as the New Year of the Trees.
“[W]e are planting trees in the Jewish cemetery of Bahrain which is akin to bringing life back to those that have lived in the beautiful community in Bahrain for centuries and made their resting place in Bahrain for eternity,” Rabbi Eli Abadie, head rabbi of the AGJC, said of the project.
AGJC is the umbrella organization for the Jewish communities of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Ebrahim Dawood Nonoo, whose family was one of the original Jewish families to settle in Bahrain, serves as president of AGJC. The community dates to the late 1800s when a group of Iraqi Jews immigrated to the Gulf state.
Israel normalized relations with the UAE and Bahrain in September of 2020.