JWB Jewish Chaplains Council® to Cooperate with Jewish Communities in the Gulf
Newly formed organization will enhance Jewish life for Jews who serve
NEW YORK —JWB Jewish Chaplains Council®, a signature program of JCC Association of North America, is pleased to announce a new cooperation with the Association of Gulf Jewish Communities (AGJC), a network of the Jewish communities from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries who are developing Jewish life in the region which was established in February 2021.
According to Rabbi Irving Elson, vice president and director of JWB Jewish Chaplains Council®, “With several hundred Jewish personnel in the Gulf region and no full-time Jewish chaplains, this cooperation with AGJC offers an exciting opportunity for JWB to expand efforts to ‘serve Jews who serve’ and their families.” Elson reports that although two or three JWB chaplains are deployed to the area for Passover and the High Holy Days, “there is year-round need for support of our troops, and this initiative will help fill that void.”
Initially, JWB will liaise between the local Jewish communities and the Jewish military personnel and their families in the region. Through these communication channels, JWB expects to increase its ability to offer Jewish supplies, including kosher provisions, to Jewish service members; extend its outreach in areas not served by Jewish chaplains or lay leaders; and liaise widely and locally with the U. S. Military Command in the area.
AGJC’s structural framework includes a Dubai-based spiritual leader, Rabbi Dr. Elie Abadie, who is building an Arabian kosher certification agency that will apply the same standards throughout the member countries, making it easier for individuals to live in and travel around the Gulf. Rabbi Yehuda Sarna, AGJC’s New York-based honorary chairman, is establishing the Beth Din of Arabia, a rabbinic assembly invested with authority to address matters of personal status, inheritance, and family law throughout the GCC. The Association’s governing body comprises representatives from each of the participating countries with Ebrahim Dawood Nonoo as its president. Nonoo heads the Jewish community in Bahrain and previously served as a member of that country’s parliament. His family is among the original Bahraini Jewish families who arrived from Iraq in the late 1800s seeking a better life.
“The Gulf nations have been very supportive of the growth in Jewish life but as more people move in and come to visit, we must tend to their educational, cultural, spiritual, and religious needs by establishing programs and institutions to service these increased needs,” said Rabbi Dr. Elie Abadie.
“Each one of our communities has so much to offer the other. While maintaining our independence, this new allows us to pool our resources to the betterment of all Jews in the Gulf,” said Ebrahim Dawood Nonoo. “While our Jewish community has been part of the fabric of Bahrain society for over a hundred years, we appreciate the needs of some of the smaller or newer communities in the region and believe we can help them flourish and navigate growth in this part of the world.”
“The JCC Movement is about bringing people together,” says Doron Krakow, president and CEO of JCC Association of North America. “ Our mission to strengthen Jewish community and enhance the vibrancy of Jewish life is predicated upon recognizing our responsibilities to one another. We are delighted that JWB Jewish Chaplains Council® can collaborate with AGJC as the organization launches, and we look forward to the many ways the JWB-AGJC cooperation will connect Jewish military personnel and their families with other Jews throughout the region, so together they can celebrate Jewish life and build a Jewish community that enriches and sustains all its members.”
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About JCC Association of North America
JCC Association of North America leads and connects the JCC Movement, advancing and enriching North American Jewish life. With 1.5 million people walking through the doors of more than 170 Jewish Community Centers and Jewish Community Camps (JCCs) each week, the JCC Movement is the largest platform for Jewish engagement on the continent. JCC Association, the convening organization of this dynamic network, partners with JCCs to bring together the collective power and knowledge of the entire JCC Movement, including 12,000 full-time and 41,000 part-time and seasonal professionals. By supporting them, together we enhance and strengthen Jewish life throughout North America. Learn more at JCCA.org or on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
About JWB Jewish Chaplains Council®
JWB Jewish Chaplains Council® (JWB) is a nonprofit, U.S. government-accredited agency that serves the religious needs of Jewish military personnel and their families, wherever they serve, as well as patients in VA hospitals. Founded in 1917, on the cusp of World War I, the Jewish Welfare Board (JWB), as it was known at the time, sought to serve young Jewish men entering the military. Today, JWB Jewish Chaplains Council®, a signature program of JCC Association of North America, continues this work by honoring the service of Jewish men and women in the United States armed forces, safeguarding their rights, fulfilling their spiritual needs, and combating loneliness and isolation.
About the Association of Gulf Jewish Communities
The Association of Gulf Jewish Communities (AGJC) is the umbrella organization for the Jewish communities of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries that are building and enhancing Jewish life in the region. While each community is independent, they share a common goal and vision – for Jewish life to flourish in the Gulf for the benefit of both residents and visitors. The AGJC oversees programming and services such as the Beth Din of Arabia, the Arabian Kosher Certification Agency, lifecycle events and other community programs. For more information, visit www.gulfjewish.org/.