The Association of Gulf Jewish Communities (AGJC) is launching a fundraising campaign to restore the century-old Jewish cemetery in Bahrain, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports.
The burial ground in the capital Manama holds special significance as the only operating Jewish cemetery in the Arab Gulf region.
The campaign will kick off next Sunday with a tree-planting ceremony as part of festivities to mark the start of the Jewish holiday of Tu B'Shevat, known as the New Year of the Trees, which is observed in Israel and in the Jewish Diaspora.
“[W]e are planting trees in the Jewish cemetery of Bahrain which is akin to bringing life back to those that have lived in the beautiful community in Bahrain for centuries and made their resting place in Bahrain for eternity,” Rabbi Eli Abadie, head rabbi of the AGJC, said of the project.
AGJC is the umbrella organization for the Jewish communities of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries — Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Ebrahim Dawood Nonoo, whose family was one of the original Jewish families to settle in Bahrain, serves as president of AGJC. The community dates to the late 1800s when a group of Iraqi Jews immigrated to the Gulf state.
Israel normalized relations with the UAE and Bahrain in September of 2020 at a signing ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. The establishment of diplomatic relations is known as the Abraham Accords.
The cemetery was established by the Jewish community in the 1930s, along with the synagogue, which remains the only functioning synagogue in the GCC. The Jewish house of worship was recently renovated, and prayer services were held publicly for the first time in decades.
Republished with permission from i24NEWS.