local authorities place traditional hut in front of the world-famous Burj Khalifa tower;
UAE Jewry invite Jews from near and far, non-Jewish locals to visit during the holiday

Itamar Eichner|; Published: 10.04.20

Weeks after the formal signing of the normalization agreement between Israel, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain in Washington, a public sukkah was erected in the Gulf state’s city of Dubai on Sunday, in a first-of-its-kind sign of solidarity. The traditional hut, which was built in coordination with Dubai’s local authorities and security forces, was erected in front of the world’s tallest tower – Dubai’s prominent Burj Khalifa tower – and unveiled by the rabbi of Dubai’s Jewish community, Rabbi Levi Duchman. “The Jewish community here lives in safety and peace thanks to the authorities,” Duchman said. “In the sukkah, as well as in the synagogue, we will pray for authorities’ success and for the health of Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi.”

Rabbi Duchman is the only rabbi staying in the Gulf state on a regular basis and works in Dubai openly and in coordination with authorities The Jewish community states that the sukkah is open to everyone and that “every Jew who lives here regularly or has come here for one purpose or another is invited to our sukkah. It is, of course, also open to the people of the Emirates who accept us with open arms.”

In celebration of Sukkot, and as a further sign of solidarity, 150 kits comprised of the holiday’s ritual plants – etrog (the fruit of a citron tree), lulav (a ripe, green, closed frond from a date palm tree), hadass (a ripe, green, closed frond from a date palm tree) and aravah (branches with leaves from the willow tree) – also known as “the four species” – arrived in Dubai from the United States and were distributed among the local Jewish community.

This year, a synagogue also operated in Abu Dhabi on the Jewish New Year – Rosh Hashanah – for the first time ever.