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Glowing event arranged by Association of Gulf Jewish Communities

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In the spirit of kinship as descendants of Abraham, Jews and Muslims gathered in Dubai to participate in the lighting of the Chanukkiah and celebrate the victory of the Maccabees. Senior Rabbi Elie Abadie is seen with Crossroads Of Civilization Museum founder Ahmed Obeid Al-Mansoori. (Photo: Supplied)

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On Monday, a Hanukkah celebration in Dubai, UAE (United Arab Emirates) was organized by the Association Of Gulf Jewish Communities and the Crossroads of Civilization Museum, which served as the location of the event.

This Museum is the only museum with a permanent Holocaust exhibit in an Arab/ Muslim nation. 

Founded this year, the Association of Gulf Jewish Communities (AGJC) is “a network of the Jewish communities (people-to-people) from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries who are developing Jewish life in the region.”

Museum COO, Yael Grafy introduced Ahmed Obeid Al-Mansoori, former member of Emirati federal council and museum founder, to open the event. Mansoori spoke about the brotherhood between Jews and Arabs that goes back to the days of Biblical figure Abraham, the legendary progenitor of both Arabs and Jews.

He said, “As children of Abraham we should be leading tolerance, openness and embracing this forward thinking for the whole region; all we have to do is set the example and spearhead tolerance everywhere.”

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Senior Rabbi Elie Abadie of the UAE lit the candles. He joined the Jewish Council of the Emirates (JCE) in 2020 as its senior and resident rabbi AND provides spiritual leadership to the local community helping to build and grow Jewish life in the Gulf. After reciting the brachas, he then took to the stage and explained the story of Hanukkah to the crowd. 

He narrated the tale of how a 1-day supply of oil miraculously lasted for 8 days.  “They fought a very valiant battle to liberate the land from the Hellenistic Empire and soldiers.”

Rabbi Abadie also suggested to those gathered, “The military victory was probably greater than the miracle of oil.”

This scene in Dubai – of an Orthodox Rabbi speaking with a stylized dreidel and dais-sized menorah in view at a public event about Chanukah – is unimaginable in many Arab states, but it is now a source of pride for signatories to the Abraham Accords. (Photo: Supplied)

“The Hanukkah message is one of freedom from oppression and freedom from tyranny,” said Rabbi Abadie, who urged the audience to “Do at least one good deed.” As he explained, “If you unite all those good deeds and that will resemble one candle for each deed, then you will have a ‘beautiful, beautiful bright light’.”

Afterwards, there were kids games and kosher food for guests – New York style jelly donuts notably. Farsi, French, Hebrew, Arabic and Afrikaans were spoken by members of the crowd, many were clad in kippas and Jewish attire, reflecting UAE’s diverse Jewish community that hails from all over the world and in a country that normalized ties with Israel only 2 years ago.

In stark contrast to the hate-filled antisemitic material distributed to children in Gaza and the West Bank by terror groups like Hamas, Fatah, and Islamic Jihad, youth in the Gulf States read comic books that portray Jews and Muslims totally at ease and enjoying life together in #Cousins_Meetup. (Photo: Supplied)

A different Hanukkah celebration was held at the Dubai Expo 2020 event where Israel has a pavilion, also another symbol of the ‘normalization’ between the two countries.

Guests were able to view the Holocaust exhibit and see the Menorah display.

UAE police were also present to give the Jewish community security for this event, reflecting the nations’ spirit of tolerance, as evidenced by their acceptance of Jews and our culture.

Avi Kumar is a historian of Sri Lankan descent who lives in New York.

He has a unique spin on current affairs.

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

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Happy reading!

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