Association in Gulf States to Boost Regional Jewish Life From ‘Beit Din’ to Kosher Agency
JNS.org – As Jewish life continues to flourish and grow in the Gulf states, the local Jewish communities of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have officially come together to form the first working organization: the Association of Gulf Jewish Communities (AGJC).
Led by Dubai-based Rabbi Dr. Elie Abadie and Bahrain-based Association President Ebrahim Daoud Nonoo, the organization will also include AGJC board members from each gulf country, hoping to “unite the Jewish communities under one umbrella organization that will provide the necessary religious, spiritual and life-cycle services for communities, families and individuals,” Abadie told JNS.
Sharing the common goal and vision for Jewish life in the Gulf to flourish for the benefit of both residents and visitors, the group is partnering on different communal programs and services, such as establishing the Beth Din of Arabia (the first Jewish court in the region) to assist with issues pertaining to personal status, inheritance and voluntary business dispute resolutions in the region. The Arabian Kosher Certification Agency is also in the process of being created to oversee kashrut (kosher certification) regionally using the same set of standards throughout all six Gulf countries to make it easier for Jewish individuals to live in or travel around the Gulf.
“While our communities vary in size, we each have something to offer the other and by combining our resources we can strengthen Jewish life in the Gulf,” Nonoo told JNS. “For example, the larger communities such as the ones in Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates can assist those in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait and Qatar when it comes to sending them matzah for Passover or yahrzeit candles for shivah.”