The Office of the Chief Rabbi envisions a world where the Jewish people and the Arab world re-engage in a mutually enriching encounter, dismantling stereotypes and encouraging touchpoints of understanding.

about the office of the chief rabbi

The Chief Rabbi will help provide an inspired vision and found communal institutions.  He will represent the community to international Jewish organizations and foundations, as well as to other regional faith communities and relevant government entities. He will serve as a sounding board to the community as they grow and deepen their presence in the region, and provide leadership on matters of community building and spirituality.  

We find ourselves at a watershed moment regarding the relationship between the global Jewish community and the Muslim world. The government of the United Arab Emirates is charting a new course in encouraging diversity and religious tolerance within its borders, including naming 2019 as the Year of Tolerance. In February 2019, the UAE celebrated a landmark visit by the Pope, the first papal visit to the Arabian Peninsula. His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Tolerance, reaffirmed the government’s commitment to promoting religious diversity in his forward to the anthology Celebrating Tolerance: Religious Diversity in the United Arab Emirates. Additionally, the signing of the Marrakesh Declaration reveals the strong desire of many governments of Muslim countries to promote and protect their religious minorities. The Office of the Chief Rabbi believes that the global Jewish community has a responsibility to respond to these positive developments.

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about rabbi yehuda sarna

Rabbi Yehuda Sarna serves as the 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.

Rabbi Sarna was one of the principal subjects of Chelsea Clinton's 2014 documentary, Of Many, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and aired nationally on ABC in 2017. The documentary is utilized as a teaching tool for universities and high schools around the country seeking to establish norms of religious and spiritual diversity within their institutions. The Of Many Institute designed an award winning training module, Faith Zone, to train university students, staff and administrators in religious literacy. Rabbi Sarna was appointed to the Muslim Jewish Advisory Council, a project of the American Jewish Committee and the Islamic Society of North America, to lobby for legislation increasingly vigilant of hate crimes.

Rabbi Sarna has recognized for his outward looking and innovative approach. He was awarded the Richard M. Joel Exemplar of Excellence from Hillel International in 2008 and was the honoree at the Orthodox Union/Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus Awards Dinner in 2009. In 2009, he was listed as one of“36-under-36 Change-makers” by the New York Jewish Week.

Rabbi Sarna is married to Dr. Michelle Waldman Sarna, a psychologist, and they have six children.

current projects

To advance our mission, we invite the Jewish public to become pro-active in this historic moment:

Join our Annual Delegation of American Jewish Leaders

Jewish Gulf Alliance annual missions bring delegations of Jewish educators, rabbis, and philanthropic leaders to explore opportunities of encounter in the United Arab Emirates. Some highlights include a spirited shabbat spent with the Jewish community in Dubai, meetings with religious and civic leaders, and a Jewish tour of the Louvre Abu Dhabi. To participate in the next delegation, please contact us.

Consult our Travel Guide to the Gulf Region

Many Jews do travel independently to the UAE, and are unable to find Jewish resources,  such as kosher food and shabbat services. Through our networks, we can assist in these queries and others. If you are planning to travel to the UAE, please fill out our request form.

Read up on Jewish life in the uae

Our Medium page collects and publishes articles pertaining to the Jewish community and religious diversity of the UAE. For the latest news stories, read our blog. If you would like to contribute a piece, please contact us.

Our Staff

Sara Fredman Aeder: Chief of Staff