As Gulf opens to Jewish life, Muslims spark interest in learning about High Holidays

One year after the Abraham Accords were signed, locals from communities in Gulf states have taken a keen and public interest in the Jewish New Year and its traditions.

With Jews around the world set to begin the High Holiday season, the small Jewish communities in six Gulf states, including Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, are planning to take part publicly in some of the traditional holiday rituals for the first time in decades.

This newfound openness is a direct result of the Abraham Accords signed a year ago between Israel, the United States, the UAE and Bahrain, followed by Sudan and Morocco.

Ebrahim D. Nonoo, leader of Bahrain’s Jewish community and president of the newly founded Association of Gulf Jewish communities (AGJC), whose goal is to develop Jewish life in the region, told JNS that “the best thing about Rosh Hashanah this year is that we are able now to advertise it. We are saying ‘Happy New Year’ to our Bahraini friends and government officials. It’s beautifully really out in the open now.”

He added “for us, in Bahrain, it’s about reciting the prayers, which we will be doing at home. But at the same time, we are sending packages of honey, pomegranates and other traditional Rosh Hashanah items to [Muslim] Bahraini families so they can join us in experiencing Rosh Hashanah.”

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