THE TORAH'S JOURNEY
Mutual Respect, Co-Existence, Inclusion and Religious Pluralism
AMEN - AMEN - AMEN breaks open the story of a Muslim nation, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), that considers religious pluralism an important public policy, indeed, a civic virtue, as told through the story of a specially made Torah Scroll created in Israel in honor of the late Sheikh Zayed,
the Founding Father of the UAE, that traveled from Israel to Brooklyn to Abu Dhabi, and is then presented to His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, by the Jewish Community of the Emirates.
BROTHERS OF THE SAME FATHER
"So the fact is that in the Hebrew Bible, in the Book of Genesis, there's no mistaking that Isaac and Ishmael are brothers of the same father [Abraham]. In modern dialogue situations when everybody's being very positive to one another, Jews and Muslims often—usually hugging—say, you know, you're my cousin, we're cousins, but the biblical tradition, the rabbinic tradition, and frankly, the Muslim tradition make it very clear: We are brothers of the same father."
WHAT IS A TORAH SCROLL?
Torah refers to the five books of Moses which are: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
The Jewish people believe that God dictated the Torah to Moses on Mount Sinai 50 days after their exodus from Egyptian slavery. They believe that the Torah shows how God wants Jews to live. It contains 613 commandments and Jews refer to the ten best known of these as the ten statements. The Torah is written in Hebrew, the oldest of Jewish languages.
"The Torah is a story, a code of laws, an object of desire."
Rabbi Yehuda Sarna, Chief Rabbi, Jewish Community of the Emirates
Rabbi Burton Visotzky, Professor Of Midrash and Interreligious Studies, Jewish Theological Seminary, New York City.
A Uniting of Communities
SHEIKH ZAYED BIN SULTAN AL NAHYAN
Founder of the UAE
The late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Founding Father of the UAE. Understanding the UAE is impossible without understanding the life of Sheikh Zayed and his deep religious faith, vision, determination and hard work; his generosity at home and abroad; and the way in which he devoted his life to the service of his people and the creation of a better world. One foundation of his philosophy as a leader and statesman was that the resources of the country should be fully used to the benefit of the people. This extended to the women of the UAE, who flourished under his visions of education, employment and equality for all Emiratis. Sheikh Zayed was also notably a firm opponent of harsh dogmas and intolerance. To learn more about Sheikh Zayed, click here.
2019: The Year of Tolerance
His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates, established 2019 as the Year of Tolerance during which His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, welcomed Pope Francis to the UAE, marking the first papal visit to the Arabian Peninsula. Pope Francis's arrival coincided
with a conference entitled “Global Conference of Human Fraternity,” hosted under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. As part of this visit, Pope Francis held the first Papal Mass to be celebrated in the Arabian Peninsula at Zayed Sports City in which 180,000 worshippers from 100 countries, including 4,000 Muslims, were present.
New Chief Rabbi of the Jewish Community of the Emirates
RABBI YEHUDA SARNA
Chief Rabbi, Jewish Community of the Emirates
Rabbi Yehuda Sarna serves as the New York University Chaplain and Executive Director at the Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life at New York University. He is a Senior Fellow at the Of Many Institute for Multifaith Leadership at NYU, where he designs educational experiences and curricula to train the next generation in interfaith action. He received my formal semichah, rabbinic ordination, at Yeshiva University in 2004. He was asked unanimously to serve as Chief Rabbi of the Jewish Community of th Emirates, which h accepted in March 2019, and subsequently received letters of endorsement and blessings from Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Rav Shlomo Amar, and others.
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