The Association of Gulf Jewish Communities (AGJC), the people-to-people network of Jewish communities from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries that are developing Jewish life in the region, facilitated the first bar mitzvah in the Kingdom of Bahrain in 16 years this past weekend at the House of Ten Commandments, the oldest and only operational synagogue in the GCC.
The young man read from the Torah that former senior White House adviser Jared Kushner commissioned in honor of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.
The bar mitzvah was part of a weekend of festivities for the AGJC that started with a Shabbat dinner in Manama on this past Friday evening attended by many diplomats, Bahrainis, and residents of other GCC countries who flew in for the event. The weekend concluded with the group hosting the first authentic Sephardic Selichot service in the GCC taking place this afternoon in the House of Ten Commandments. In addition to the participation of the Jewish communities in the region, more than 1,000 people joined from around the world via the livestream.
“It is a very exciting time for Jewish life in the GCC as more families celebrate Jewish milestones more publicly,” said AGJC Rabbi Dr. Eli Abadie. “In addition to this young man’s bar mitzvah, we recently celebrated a bat mitzvah for a young woman in Oman and we have a number of other Jewish lifecycle events which will take place before the end of the year. This is an affirmation of the continued growth of Jewish life in the region.”
“This weekend’s bar mitzvah was a joyous occasion for our whole community, and we wish the young man and his family a mazal tov,” said AGJC President Ebrahim Dawood Nonoo. “It is incredibly special for us to use the Torah Jared commissioned in honor of His Majesty for the first time this weekend in the lead up to Bahrain’s first anniversary of signing the Abraham Accords which is all about creating a better life for the youth in our region—including this young man.”
“We are thrilled to share this weekend with the broader AGJC community and our Muslim friends who joined us for the festivities including the bar mitzvah,” added Nonoo. “One of our guests shared that this was her first time in Bahrain, and she came for a Shabbat dinner and a bar mitzvah.”