JNS.org – Beginning this month, the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Manama, Bahrain, will become the first hotel in the kingdom to offer kosher-certified food through the help of Orthodox Union (OU) Kosher, the world’s largest kosher certification agency.
Following the signing of the Abraham Accords, a surge in interest in visiting the kingdom has come from Jewish business and leisure travelers in Israel, North America and Europe.
“The Abraham Accords has opened new destinations for kosher travelers in the Gulf that have never existed before,” said OU Kosher CEO Rabbi Menachem Genack. “Because of our global resources, our team is able to handle requirements for certifications anywhere in the world, including the Gulf, which is why our certification has been so sought-after in this region.”
OU Kosher is consulting with the hotel on establishing a new kosher kitchen to be overseen by OU Kosher certifiers. Additionally, it is helping the hotel identify a kosher culinary team member who will serve as a mashgiach, or kosher supervisor, when kosher meals are prepared on the premises.
“The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain prides itself on providing an elevated luxury experience for our guests at every touchpoint during their stay; in particular, their dining experience. Bahrain is unique as it already has an indigenous Jewish population and since the recent normalization of relations, we are seeing a greater interest from Jewish and Israeli travelers, and we want to be able to provide kosher food for those who prefer this option,” said general manager Bernard de Villèle.
The head of Bahrain’s Jewish community, Ebrahim Nonoo, responded by saying “we laud efforts to offer kosher food, as this will help bring in more Jewish tourists. Partnering with the most universally accepted kashrut agency ensures that more Jewish tourists will choose Bahrain as their next travel destination when visiting the Gulf. Nearly a day goes by where we don’t receive a request from Jewish groups and individuals about visiting Bahrain, and kosher food is one of their top questions.”