Israel Gulf Report
Israel's Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef visits UAE Jewish community
A major visit by Israeli Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef is an important milestone in the new relations between Israel and the UAE and the Emirates embrace of its Jewish community. The Chief Rabbi spoke of his respect for all communities and held a meeting with the Jewish community. He spoke with passion about coexistence and about the Jewish community now growing in the UAE. Other speakers praised the milestones happening in the last weeks with the Jewish community, including the recent Hanukkah celebrations in Dubai.
Reports noted that he took part in "inaugurating a Jewish school." See other reports here and here. One report noted "during his visit, HaRav Yosef plans to attend a ceremony building a mikvah and dedicate a new Shul in Abu Dhabi. He will also meet with senior Emirati officials, and inaugurate a newly certified Jewish (children’s) school." Reports said he would be at the opening of a kosher restaurant in the Burj Khalifa and see a kosher slaugterhouse. The school he is dedicating is called Mini Miracles. See an interview with Alec Sellem about it. See video of the trip, as well as the Chief Rabbi meeting Yemenite Jews who were aided by the UAE. More video here. And here.
He arrived on Thursday December 17. He spent Shabbat with the Jewish community. Sources in the UAE said that "during his visit, he will meet with senior Emirati officials, inaugurate the newly certified Jewish [nursery] school, and, in a special ceremony, invest Rabbi Levi Duchman as rabbi of the Emirati Jewish community." A motzei shabbat event was also announced online (see here). Reports also indicated he would visit the Beit Tefillah Synagogue in Abu Dhabi. Deputy US Chief of Mission Sean Murphy hosted members of Beit Tefillah Synagogue at his residence for a menorah lighting in celebration of Hanukkah. A community spokesperson named Daniel Seal was quoted as saying the visit will "ensure that Jews who come to work or visit in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and across the Emirates, will have access to Jewish institutions and services." President of the JCC Solly Wolf also praised the visit.
“The survival of a Jewish community depends on its adherence to Torah values and Torah learning,” Rabbi Yosef said, according to one report. “The Jewish community in the Emirates is fortunate to have a Rabbi that not only teaches Torah, but is working to grow the community and its institutions”. The trip was reported in the region and on social media. According to tweets by Michal Michelle Divon he also met "Dubai’s largest developer and entrepreneur Mohamed Alabbar. See tweets about the Chief Rabbi breaking ground for Jewish institutions.
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