While the UAE has no shortage of attractions - the world’s tallest building the Burj Khalifa, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the artificial archipelago the Palm Jumeriah, and Dubai Frame, just to name a few – tourists may also be interested to see the country’s Jewish artifacts and sacred spaces.
Here are four stops for tourists interested in exploring the UAE’s Jewish history and future:
Louvre Abu Dhabi
The Louvre Abu Dhabi museum is home to a Yemenite Torah, circa 1498 from the capital city of Sana’a; a Hebrew Bible, circa 1232 from Spain, and copied by Israel ben Casares; and an oil painting of the biblical Tower of Babel, circa 1595 by Abel Grimmer.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi also has an interactive virtual exhibit called “Religions of the Book,” where visitors can explore Jewish, Christian, and Islamic sacred texts.
Ras al-Khaimah’s National Museum
The emirate of Ras al-Khaimah’s National Museum holds a rare Judaic archaeological piece from the Arabian Gulf: a Jewish gravestone of a man named David, which is dated between 1507 and 1650.
The limestone headstone has a Hebrew inscription that begins with: “This is the grave of the deceased David of blessed memory, son of Moses.”
The tombstone was first discovered in 1998 in the Shamal area of Ras al-Khaimah, according to The National.
Elli’s Kosher Kitchen
Observant Jewish people need not worry about keeping kosher in the UAE. Dubai resident Elli Kriel’s kosher kitchen provides foods permissible under Jewish dietary law for tourists and residents alike.
Kriel opened her business Elli's Kosher Kitchen last year, making history as the first certified kosher service in the Gulf.
In addition to religious considerations, Kriel’s food also crosses cultures, adopting local flavors in some of her recipes such as her “Emirati style” borekas, a puff pastry of Sephardic Jewish origin.
“I want to experiment and develop a new genre of Jewish cooking that reflects the UAE environment. I refer to it as Kosherati,” Kriel told Al Arabiya English in May.
Abrahamic Family House
Currently under construction on Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island, the Abrahamic Family House will house an Islamic mosque, a Jewish synagogue, and a Christian church.
It is named after Abraham, regarded as the father of the three monotheistic faiths: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
The complex is set to be completed in 2022 and will host a variety of programming including daily religious services and international summits.