Our Story

Our History

Our minyan was founded by long-standing community members who had the goal of serving the resident community of Dubai and continuing the ethos of the original Dubai community that was established in 2010.

From its earliest days, our community has been strongly identified with a mansion in Umm Suqeim 3, Dubai which the community used for prayer. Our synagogue became known as “the Villa” and was widely featured in press coverage about our community. Although the Villa was our cherished home, we were encouraged to seek approval for a new location that would have more prestige, better security and a multi-functional capacity. Hence, the change in location to the iconic Palm Jumeirah at St Regis Hotel.

Our Jewish Community

The Jewish community of Dubai comes from many parts of the globe. We are entrepreneurs, professionals, diplomats, doctors, educators, designers, diamond merchants, restauranters, artists. Mashgichim and academics. Many of us have lived here for more than ten years and call Dubai and the UAE our home. We come from every part of the Jewish world (speaking Hebrew, English, Arabic, French, German, Portuguese, Spanish and Russian) and reflecting multiple different Jewish traditions and denominations. The original Dubai community dates back to 2010 and its ethos and key leaders consider Dubai and UAE to be their home. We are long-time friends who respect and care for each other and are slowly building a new Jewish identity through our life in this region.

In the context of a general departure of most Jews from many Muslim lands, our being here in Dubai is a remarkable and hopeful fact. Our presence in Dubai as a flourishing community facilitated the Abraham Accords and we hope through our presence to build a Jewish future from Dubai.

Broader Significance

The presence of a Jewish community in Dubai has spawned significant interest as a unique community with an inspiring story.

The news of our community first surfaced in Bloomberg in December 2018 and was followed by the book “Celebrating Tolerance” which was approved by the UAE Media Council and prominently featured our community.

After the announcement of the Abraham Accords on 13 August 2020, our Jewish community has moved into the centre of intense Jewish interest in the UAE and its model of Islamic Tolerance.

You’re invited to be a part of the extraordinary story of building our Jewish community in Dubai.

Building a Jewish FUTURE from Dubai

is a project unfolding in Dubai.

It views our Jewish community in Dubai as a project which cannot (and should not) be owned by any segment of the Jewish people.

It expresses optimism about our shared Jewish future.

It focuses on the values that can be internalised in Dubai and transmitted from Dubai to the Jewish World.

There are two values that require particular emphasis:

Tolerance

Is a traditional value of moderation and inclusion in the UAE which has been developed into a contemporary principle of pluralism, governance, statecraft and diplomacy.

Future focus

An approach of assuming agency vis a vis the future that allows for visionary outcomes and optimism about the future that is so beautifully captured in the Museum of the Future and the Dubai Frame.

We invite visitors who attend our Shabbatot and who come away inspired to remain involved in our project. You are included in it and can contribute in multiple ways. Please contact Ross Kriel (+971 56 226 2117) to learn more.

Founding Vision

Founder of MOTP is Ross Kriel, an Oxford-educated lawyer originally from Johannesburg. Ross Kriel has actively built the Jewish Community since 2013 by creating a place of worship with regular services (originally in his home), obtaining and supporting the infrastructure for Jewish prayer and establishing a fully-functioning, flourishing and viable community. He engages frequently with government representatives, religious leaders and Diplomats to ensure that our community takes its place appropriately among the other religious communities of the UAE.

Photo: Ross Kriel

Muslim and Jewish Students participating in the Ibrahim Student Leadership & Dialogue Middle East Program with Queens College at the Community Villa on 10 January 2020.