What if you built a synagogue and no one came?


The United Arab Emirates is engaging in a commendable exercise in fostering inter-faith tolerance and understanding:

A new UAE’s landmark, featuring a church, mosque and synagogue, will be built in one location in Abu Dhabi.

The unique and historic project dubbed the “Abrahamic Family House”, which is currently in the first steps of implementation, will take three years to be completed and opened in 2022.
The Abrahamic Family House is among the first projects of the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity, which was reviewed at its second meeting held at the New York Public Library in which the Committee shared with stakeholders their mission to progress a culture of mutual respect and dialogue across all backgrounds, beliefs and nationalities.
Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and several top Emirati officials, and representatives of several institutions and partners were present.
The meeting coincides with the beginning of the 74th United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York.
The new body is empowered to provide guidance and counsel on realising the goals of the “Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together” signed by His Holiness, Pope Francis of the Catholic Church, and His Eminence Dr. Ahmad Al Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al Azhar Al Sharif, in Abu Dhabi, during the Papal visit in February this year.

It’s all very lovely – after all, for the past 70 odd years synagogues have kept being destroyed throughout the Arab world or were falling into disuse with the expulsions and exodus of historic Jewish communities throughout the Middle East – but there is one tiny problem:

The United Arab Emirates is one of the two dozen or so countries, which does not allow Israeli passport holders to enter its borders.

So that’s half of the world’s Jews that won’t be able to set foot in the Abrahamic Family House. Possibly that’s why the proposed synagogue is half the size of the on-site mosque and the church.