New Kippahs Hand-Made in Bahrain Mark Surge in Visitors to Gulf’s Oldest Jewish Community
One-of-a-kind kippahs designed and hand-made locally in Bahrain debuted last month, celebrating the country’s Jewish culture and community amid warming ties with Israel.
The red and white skullcaps showcase the colors of the Bahraini flag and are emblazoned with “House of Ten Commandments,” the name of the capital Manama’s synagogue. They also feature a hamsa inscribed with a fleur-de-lis.
Houda Nonoo, an ambassador at Bahrain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, introduced the kippahs to the public during a virtual Purim celebration in February hosted by the Association of Gulf Jewish Communities (AGJC), the umbrella organization for the Jewish communities of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
“Over the last few months, we’ve experienced an influx of Jewish tourists who are coming to Bahrain and want to visit our synagogue (the oldest in the Gulf) and Jewish cemetery (the only operational one in the Gulf) and that interest has further increased since the announcement of the Association of Gulf Jewish Communities last month,” Ambassador Nonoo told The Algemeiner on Thursday. “When they come visit, they often look for a souvenir to remember their time here.”
The association’s board consists of members from all six Gulf countries — Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — who have the shared goal of growing Jewish life in the region.
The ambassador’s cousin, Haydee Nonoo, designed the kippahs as a tribute to her late mother, Lily Bendahan, “to whom Jewish traditions and values were a significant part of family life, and who loved visiting Bahrain,” Haydee told The Algemeiner.
Announced in mid-February, the organization operates under the leadership of Rabbi Dr. Elie Abadie, based in Dubai, and Bahrain-based president Ebrahim Dawood Nonoo. Its establishment comes after Israel, Bahrain, and the UAE normalized relations last year under the historic Abraham Accords.
Those interested in ordering a kippah can reach out to email@example.com.