The Seder in the Emirates was incredible, a record breaking event under Rabbi Levi Duchman, who's too modest to call it what it really is – not just by far the largest Seder in the UAE this year or even to date, as he has been leading Seders in the UAE since 2014, but truly the largest ever Seder in the whole Arab world – over 1,200 people attended the 2 main events, which were held in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.Amazing attendance, from the large community Rabbi Duchman leads in these two locations, alongside UAE leadership and diplomats, and Jews from all over the world. The Seders were top quality events held in careful attention to the tradition (including the songs!), and in four different languages.On the seventh day of Pesach, Rabbi Duchman and his community led no less than four festive events between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and the Rabbi even went by foot from one event to another to make sure there's Minyan.As Passover perfectly coincided with Ramadan and Easter this year, Rabbi Duchman also held and was hosted in several official and festive Iftar events – a very festive week all in all!-From the office of Rabbi Duchman, Rabbi to the UAE
We welcomed over 1,200 people between Dubai and Abu Dhabi for Pesach Seders this past weekend...can you believe it?!— Rabbi Levi Duchman حاخام ليفي دوخمان (@RabbiUae) April 18, 2022
How fortunate we are to live in a country that allows people of all religions, all cultures, and all colors to celebrate and thrive! pic.twitter.com/KRDK3Oe7dw
Was Pesach in Dubai very busy?Ephraim: There was an influx of tourists for the holiday of Passover. There were five kosher for Pesach hotels this year. There were many families who came in and organized Pesach on their own. There were many Israelis who came in for Chol Hamoed, arriving on Sunday or Monday and leaving Wednesday or Thursday, so yes, Passover this year was very busy!.How many tourists came into Dubai for Pesach?Ephraim: Nobody has an exact number of how many people came into Dubai for Peach. The kosher programs hosted about 2,000 guests. This doesn’t include all the Pesach tourists who organized their own hotels and meals, as some of the kosher restaurants did offer kosher for Pesach menus.Where did the tourists come from?Ephraim: People came in from Israel, America, Europe and Australia. Jews from all over came to Dubai for Pesach.How were the sedarim?Ephraim: Every hotel had their sedarim. Chabad had the biggest seder in Dubai, probably the biggest seder in the world this year. It took place in the Mövenpick Grand Al Bustan Hotel in a few different social halls. The seder in the main hall had 800 Israelis and the hall next to it had seder with about 500 English-speaking people. That was very special.Were there any issues with the overlap with Ramadan and Easter?Ephraim: There were not too many issues with Ramadan because the meals were in closed hotels or ballrooms. No problem with eating meals inside the hotels during the day. When you go outside, you should respect the locals and try not to eat and drink in public during the day.
There has been a lot of interest in Dubai since the Abraham Accords. Israelis have been flocking to Dubai any time the country opened up for travel over the past two years. Now that it looks like travel is open for good (we hope), tourists from all over the world are excited to visit Dubai. It’s not just Jewish tourists who are heading to Dubai. Jewish community leaders estimate that Dubai’s Jewish community has doubled over the past year, from 250 to 500. There was a small Jewish community before the Abraham Accords that had to worship in secret. Over the past two years, Jewish tourists and residents have been able to walk around with kippot, eat in kosher restaurants and pray in synagogues. The Jewish community is expected to continue expanding, which will also translate to more kosher restaurants, synagogues and other kosher Jewish establishments.