First-Ever Jewish Dating Site Launched in The Gulf to Cater to The Needs of a Growing Community
05:44 GMT 31.10.2021 (Updated: 11:30 GMT 31.10.2021)
Before the signing of the Abraham Accords between Israel, the UAE and Bahrain, the number of Jews residing in the area did not exceed several thousand. But a year after the historic pacts, their presence is growing and a local rabbi says his organisation is there to cater to their needs.
On Sunday, the Association of Gulf Jewish Communities (AGJC), a people-to-people network from the Gulf Cooperation Council, launched a first-of-its-kind dating website that's aimed at pairing up local Jewish singles.
JSG, which stands for Jewish Singles in the Gulf, will encourage participants to fill out a questionnaire and then a group of matchmakers recommend matches
Dr. Elie Abadie, a AGJC Rabbi based in Dubai who played a pivotal role in making the idea of a Jewish dating website a reality, says the platform is user friendly and the information that's given is confidential.
"The person describes what they are looking for. Then the service finds the match and connects the two people."
It is not really clear how big the Jewish community in the Gulf is. Reports suggest that a small number of Jews reside in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, where they have moved for business purposes.
In the United Arab Emirates, before it signed a normalisation agreement with Israel, there were about 150 families, or roughly 2,000 to 3,000 people. Bahrain, another signatory of the historic Abraham Accords, reportedly housed a tiny Jewish
community of about 50 members
Now, with the agreements signed and visa regulations easing, the Gulf is expected to attract more Jewish people, who will be coming to the region for pleasure, business and studies. And Abadie says the newly launched website can become a useful tool for many of them.
"Many Jews are moving here and looking for new horizons. A lot of people don't have anyone in this part of the world and we want to help those individuals. But we also want them to establish families here and increase the Jewish presence in the Gulf," said the Rabbi.
Practising Jews disapprove of inter-religious marriages. This is specifically true for men, who are encouraged to marry only Jewish women, who are responsible for transferring Jewish lineage to new generations.
Enhancing All Facets of Jewish Life
The dating platform is only one of the initiatives introduced by the AGJC that aims at enhancing all facets of Jewish life in the region.
In the past year since its establishment in the Gulf it has organised weekly Shabbat dinners and played a pivotal role in setting up a local kosher food organisation that caters to Jewish traditions and eating habits
But Abadie says the AGJC is not planning to stop at that.
"We are thinking of setting up Jewish schools and provide informal education. We are also willing to provide social services, help newcomers to find employment and assist the elderly, who would like to retire in the region, to get what they might need."
For now, however, Abadie takes "one step at a time," focusing on the launch of the dating website, and he is certain that it is only a matter of time until this service becomes a success.