Bahrain hosts first Jewish wedding in 52 years
The first Jewish wedding in 52 years was held in Bahrain over the weekend, in a sign of warming ties between Israel and the Gulf kingdom, which has warmly embraced the historic Abraham Accords.
The event, held at the Ritz Carlton Manama, was also the first strictly kosher wedding in the kingdom’s history and was arranged by the Orthodox Union, the world’s largest kosher certification agency. The ceremony was officiated by Rabbi Dr. Elie Abadie, Rabbi of the Association of Gulf Jewish Communities.
Ambassador Houda Nonoo tweeted about the wedding noting that the couples who got married are her son and daughter-in-law.
“All weddings are exciting events as we celebrate the creation of a new Jewish family. This wedding was even more significant as it was the first Jewish wedding in more than half a century in the GCC’s only indigenous Jewish community,” said Abadie. “I was honored to officiate the wedding. It is so fulfilling for me to see a resurgence of Jewish life in this region and to assist families throughout the region pray and experience lifecycle events in the GCC.”
The weekend included two additional ceremonies, a Shabbat Chatan and a Henna ceremony, the latter of which is customary in Sephardic Jewish communities.
The wedding is part of a series of Jewish lifecycle events that the AGJC has facilitated since its inception in February 2021, including a bat mitzvah in Oman and a bar mitzvah in Bahrain.
“This wedding was an important moment for our family, the community here in Bahrain, and more broadly, for the Jewish community in the region,” Nonoo said. “The atmosphere was euphoric as we sat around the chuppah which symbolizes the new home being built by the couple, it was also symbolic of the opportunity to further grow Jewish life in the region.
“It is our hope that we will host more Jewish weddings in the region which will lead to more young couples starting their families here and the further growth of our community.”
The Association of Gulf Jewish Communities (AGJC) is the umbrella organization for the Jewish communities of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries that are building and enhancing Jewish life in the region. While each community is independent, they share a common goal and vision – for Jewish life to flourish in the Gulf for the benefit of both residents and visitors. The AGJC oversees programming and services such as the Beth Din of Arabia, the Arabian Kosher Certification Agency, lifecycle events, and other community programs.