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  • Writer's pictureIsrael Gulf Report

Ambassador Houda Nonoo showcases renovated synagogue in Bahrain

"It’s my pleasure to invite you to the recently renovated House of Ten Commandments (our synagogue in Manama, Bahrain). This is the oldest synagogue on the Gulf and we look forward to welcoming you soon," said Ambassador Houda Nonoo in a post on April 7, 2021.

This important video posted by Nonoo along with the comments illustrate a momentous event for the Jewish community of Bahrain. This has been in the works for months. It has been a long journey to this moment.

Last year Emily Judd at Al-Arabiya wrote about the importance of this development. "When the majority of Jewish families in Bahrain fled the country in the aftermath of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, the Nonoo family stayed – despite the country’s only synagogue being burnt down in the capital city Manama," the article noted in 2020.

Leader of the community Ebrahim Nonoo told Al Arabiya English “the agreement changes everything.” Despite the historic presence of Judaism in Bahrain, there has not been an acting rabbi in the country for over 40 years, the article said. “We are hoping to create a functioning synagogue with a rabbi,” said Nonoo, a businessman who previously served as the first Jewish member in Bahrain’s parliament.

Back in June 2019 Times of Israel wrote about a rare prayer service in Bahrain. "Businessmen, reporters, five rabbis and a senior White House official held rare morning prayers at the only officially declared synagogue in the Gulf Wednesday, on the edges of a peace conference being held in the tiny gulf kingdom that was once home to a thriving Jewish community. At the end of the service, which took place on the sidelines of the US administration’s economic peace workshop held in Bahraini capital Manama, the men, clad in prayer shawls and phylacteries, broke out in song, walking around the bimah and singing “Am Yisrael Chai” — the people of Israel live." Hanukkah candles were lit in Bahrain in 2015 at a ceremony that was considered historic at the time. In September 2020 Jared Kushner gave His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa bin Salman al-Khalifa of the Kingdom of Bahrain a Torah scroll for a Synagogue in Bahrain.

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