The Abrahamic Family House on Saadiyat Island includes the Emirates’ first-ever purpose-built synagogue, which was to hold Friday morning services led by UAE Chief Rabbi Yehuda Sarna. On Sunday, the synagogue was also to dedicate a Torah scroll gifted by Emirati President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
The three houses of worship have been named St. Francis of Assisi Church, Imam Al-Tayeb Mosque, and Moses Ben Maimon Synagogue.
The House derives its name from the Biblical patriarch Abraham, said to be the father of the three faiths, as do the Abraham Accords normalization agreements signed in 2020 between Israel and Bahrain, the UAE and Morocco.
The construction of the House was announced following Pope Francis’ landmark February 2019 visit to the UAE, during which he signed the Document on Human Fraternity alongside Grand Imam Ahmed Al-Tayeb.
The Association of Gulf Jewish Communities hailed the UAE as “a beacon of light” for opening the House.
“There is something very special about a synagogue being built in a Muslim country and it sends a very strong message to other countries where Jewish people live in fear of being attacked for their beliefs,” it said.
“In many Western countries, antisemitism is at an all-time high. The opening of the Moses Ben Maimon Synagogue in the Abrahamic Family House sends a powerful message that the leadership is not only ensuring our safety but encouraging our practice by building this beautiful synagogue for us to use.”