Shaarei Mizrah

مرحبا اهلا وسهلا
!ברוכים הבאים

Welcome, Marhaba, Ahlan wasahlan,
مرحبا اهلا وسهلا
ברוכים הבאים

It is with great pleasure and enthusiasm that I welcome you to the United Arab Emirates, with the local Arabic words of welcome, and with the hospitality rooted and founded in the teaching of our common – Jews and Arabs – Patriarch Abraham.

Our community has been growing and flourishing in the last few years, in this beautiful country of tolerance, acceptance, peaceful coexistence and harmonious living among different faith communities.

With the Abraham Accords becoming a reality. History has been made; we are at the ‘crossroads of history’. The future bodes well for the UAE, the Gulf region, the Middle East. As the Senior Rabbi and religious leader of the Jewish community in the Emirates, I have seen with my own eyes and experienced personally, how every day, as I walk through the streets of the Emirates, with my kippa on my head, I am welcomed and greeted kindly. The desire of the Emirati people to explore and learn more about the Jewish people, their history, their faith and their culture is truly inspiring. Very often we have local Emiratis join us for Shabbat meals as they want to learn more about our Jewish customs and rituals. We have so much in common: our faith in the one and only God, our steadfast adherence to family values, traditions and customs, our respect for the sanctity of life and human dignity. These are just some small examples of the many theological and traditional commonalities between Judaism and Islam, between Arabs and Jews.

As a Sephardi Arab Jew born in Beirut, Lebanon, I grew up speaking Arabic, eating Middle Eastern cuisine, smelling the aromas of the region, listening to the music and songs of the great classical Arab singers, hearing the inspirational chants of the mosque Adhan. I feel at home here in the UAE. I have returned to my region, to my childhood home and I do so with a yearning to build up Jewish life here.

The Jewish community feels at home here as it continues to grow. Jewish business people are settling here. This will increase the Jewish population of the Emirates, and the Gulf more broadly. As Jews escape anti-Semitism in Europe and even in the United States of America and South America, we are looking forward to welcoming them with open arms here in the UAE, a country that lives by its principles of tolerance, coexistence and freedom of worship. As a community, we are proud to represent the Jewish people with dignity and honor.

Please join our community in all our services, programs and activities.

Looking forward to seeing you!

Rabbi Dr. Elie Abadie
Senior Rabbi
Jewish Council of the Emirates
Congregation Shaarei Mizrah

“Shaarei Mizrah”, or “Gates of the East”, is where the Sun rises and illuminates our planet. It is East of the land of Israel, where our prayers are directed to. It also alludes to being in the eastern part of the Earth, but most importantly to signify our aspirations and allusion that this congregation in fact serve as an open gate, to the East, especially to the “Gates of the East” of Beit Hamikdash where tradition has it, from where the Prophet Elijah – Eliyahu Hanavi and the Mashiah will be entering as they usher the ultimate redemption.