UAE Jewish council announces appointment of senior rabbi

In what has been described as “the latest sign of revolutionary progress for Jews in the Middle East,” the Jewish Council of the Emirates announced on Friday the appointment of Rabbi Dr. Elie Abadie as a senior rabbi.

In a statement issued on the occasion of the appointment and against the backdrop of the newly signed normalization agreement between the two nations, the JCE said that Abadie would be returning to the region after having to flee it many years ago.

“Once a Jewish refugee who left the region as a young boy –– will return to the region as the new Senior Rabbi in Residence of the Jewish Council of the Emirates (JCE). Working in tandem with JCE Chief Rabbi Yehuda Sarna, Rabbi Abadie will be entrusted with providing on-the-ground spiritual leadership to the growing Jewish community residing in the UAE,” it said.

“Rabbi Abadie’s fluency in Arabic as well as six other languages positions him as a unique resource to help facilitate meaningful interfaith dialogue in the Middle East. His voice will be amplified not only in the UAE, but throughout the region and around the world,” Sarna said. “I can think of no better candidate to fill this role, and I look forward to working together to both serve the UAE’s burgeoning Jewish community and cultivate a more peaceful, inclusive, and harmonious region as a whole.”

According to the statement issued by the JCE, “Rabbi Abadie is a fluent Arabic speaker who was born in Beirut, Lebanon, and left with his family for Mexico, eventually settling in the United States. A descendant of a long and distinguished rabbinical lineage dating back to 15th century Spain and France, Rabbi Abadie is the founder and rabbi of the Manhattan East Synagogue. He also serves as a college professor of Sephardic Judaism, history, philosophy and comparative traditional law.”

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