Dubai Skyline (Evato Elements)
The signing of the Abraham Accords on the White House lawn in September 2020 normalized ties between Israel and the UAE and opened up a new and exciting vacation destination for Jewish and kosher travelers. The Jewish community in both cities has grown in the past year and a half. It is now easy to find kosher friendly hotels and kosher restaurants in the UAE, more in Dubai than Abu Dhabi. There are many activities that make the UAE a great destination for a family vacation. This year for the first time, there will be Passover programs in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
The UAE is a federation of seven states that was established in 1971 following the British withdrawal from the area. Abu Dhabi, the wealthiest of the emirates serves as capital of the UAE. The current estimated population of the UAE is around 9.89 million, the majority of whom are expats from other Arab countries or foreign workers from Southeast Asia. Most of the country is dessert and includes some of the world’s largest sand dunes. The weather in the UAE is hot and humid with very little rain throughout the year.
The Jewish Community of the United Arab Emirates
The Jewish Community in the UAE numbers around 2,000 people. After many years of practicing in secret and hiding their Judaism, the Jewish communities in the UAE are now able to practice openly. Yehuda Sarna became the first Chief Rabbi of the UAE in 2019.
There are a number of options for daily minyan in Dubai: Minyan on the Palm founded by Ross Kriel, Chabad of the Emirates JCC (Jewish Community Center) of the UAE led by Rabbi Levi Duchman and Shaarei Mizrah led by Rabbi Yehuda Sarna and Rabbi Elie Abadie. Recently, due to the large amount of kosher and observant vacationers in Dubai, there are two new minyanim: one at the TLV Restaurant in the H Hotel and another one in The Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor. It is best to check with each location if there is a minyan as they are dependent on guests at that time. As of November 2021, there is a beautiful new mikvah in Dubai Hills.
A new synagogue, under construction in Abu Dhabi, is scheduled to be completed in 2022. It will be part of a complex housing a mosque and church alongside the synagogue. There is a small Jewish community in Abu Dhabi. They had a minyan for the first time on Rosh Hashanah 2020 in a new shul in the central area called Saadiyat Island.
Jewish Holidays Celebrated in Dubai
In 2020, after the signing of the Abraham Accords, for the first time ever, there was a sukkah on Sukkot and candle lighting on Hanukkah in Dubai. There has been a sukkah on Sukkot for the past two years at the base of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, outside Armani/Kaf. Armani/Kaf, the first kosher restaurant in the UAE, serves upscale Mediterranean cuisine, Asian decor and a view of Dubai’s dancing fountains.
Jewish Sukkah spotted in Dubai at the base of Burj Khalifa
The Chief Rabbi of the UAE lit the menorah in the Israel Pavillion at the Dubai 2020 Expo on the first night of Hanukkah in 2021. Hanukkah candle lighting in 2020, the first in UAE history, was outside of the Burj Khalifa.
This year will be the first year that there will be Passover Programs in the UAE. There are programs planned in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. There were programs planned for last year but they were canceled due to COVID-19. There is a lot of buzz and excitement around the Passover programs in Dubai and the UAE.
Kosher in the UAE
Kosher food is available on flights to the UAE. The UAE national carrier, Emirates and the Emirates flight catering company have set up kosher food production. “Kosher Arabia” is certified by the Orthodox Union Kashrut Division in partnership with the South African Union of Orthodox Synagogues.
Kosher Restaurants in Dubai
- The Kosher Place - Glatt Kosher restaurant located at the Jumeirah Creekside Hotel
- King David Kitchen - CLOSED UNTIL SEPTEMBER 2022. Glatt Mehadrin Meat and Dairy restaurant located in the InterContinental Hotel Dubai - Festival City
- Ellie's Kosher Kitchen - a kosher catering service
- The Armani/Kaf Kosher restaurant, certified by the EAKC (restaurant has moved to a larger venue at the second floor)
- Treat Kosher – Kosher Gourmet catering, located in downtown Dubai, EAKC
- Mul Hayam - Kosher Israeli style restaurant under Chabad supervision
- TLV / Tel Aviv - Glatt Kosher meat restaurant located at the H Hotel (37th floor) under supervision of the EAKC.
- The Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City Hotel offers daily kosher breakfast open to all guests of the hotel (no special reservation is required); outside guests can purchase the kosher meal at the reception. Supervised by Rabbi Levi Duchman EAKC.
- The Chabad House (which also offers Shabbat hospitality at the Jumeirah Creekside Hotel)
Please check the TJT up to date kosher guide for Dubai for Shabbat times and further details.
Cityscape of Dubai (Evato Elements)
Kosher Hospitality in Dubai
- The Armani Hotel Dubai - featuring the Kosher Armani/Kaf
- The Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor - Kosher breakfast and room service menu
- The Jumeirah Creekside Hotel - The Kosher Place Restaurants (also for Shabbat hospitality)
- Ellie's Kosher Kitchen in cooperation with The St Regis Hotel Shabbat Meals and services
- The Intercontinental Hotel Dubai - Festival City - featuring The Kosher King David Kitchen - RESTAURANT CLOSED UNTIL SEPTEMBER 2022.
- The Crowne Plaza Dubai Festival City - operated by ASI Global Tours
- The Holiday Inn Dubai - Festival City Mall - operated by ASI Global Tours
- The Hilton Conrad Hotel Dubai - operated by Shainfeld Tours
- The Hilton Garden Inn Dubai Mall Of The Emirates - kosher parve breakfast only
- The Address Dubai Marina Hotel - Chabad
- Dukes The Palm - option to order in kosher meals during the week
- The H Dubai Hotel - home to the TLV kosher restaurant
- Paramount Hotel Dubai - At this stage for groups only with prior confirmation
Sightseeing in Dubai
Dubai, the most populous of the United Arab Emirates, offers many tourist attractions:
- The Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world at 829.8 meters and made famous in a scene from Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. We recommend visiting the Dubai Fountain and the outdoor observation deck on the 124th floor. We do not recommend climbing up the outside of the building like Tom Cruise in the movie.
Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol - Climbing the Burj Khalifa
- The Dubai Aquarium
- Ski Dubai, an indoor ski hall in sub-zero temperatures, with five different slopes covering 22,400 square meters
- Dubai Mall
- Atlantis Aquaventure Waterpark
- Miracle Garden is the largest natural flower paradise in the world
- Beautiful beaches, that are free or have a minimal charge, featuring lifeguards, showers and changing rooms
- Many activities including jeeping, sandboarding, camel safaris, speedboat tours and more
Abu Dhabi (Evato Elements)
Kosher in Abu Dhabi
- Armed Forces Officers Club and Hotel - Certified Kosher kitchen by the EAKC
- Elli’s Kosher Kitchen - Kosher food preparation and distribution center at Aloft Abu Dhabi
- Elli’s Kosher Kitchen Catering - delivery to hotels across the UAE
- The Kosher Place Abu Dhabi - located in the Ritz-Carlton Grand Canal
Kosher Hospitality in Abu Dhabi
- Armed Forces Officers Club Hotel - separate, dedicated kosher kitchen
Sightseeing in Abu Dhabi
- Warner Bros. World theme park is an indoor theme park
- Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, an indoor amusement park on Yas Island, is the first Ferrari branded theme park and boasts the world’s fastest roller coaster
- The Louvre Abu Dhabi is an arts and civilization museum
- Corniche Road, the main promenade, is eight kilometers long and features a children’s play area, bike and pedestrian paths and Corniche Beach
- Emirates Palace
- Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi
- Cool off at one of the beautiful public beaches in Abu Dhabi
Dubai Kosher Restaurants and Kosher Food Venues
Kosher and Jewish Observant Friendly Hospitality in Dubai and the UAE