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Rebecca Stern

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History in the Making

Posted by Rebecca Stern on December 1, 2020

Last month Gil Travel hosted a program called "Kosherati – A Kosher Spin on Gulf Food" with Dr. Elli Kriel, who started the first kosher kitchen in the UAE and the Gulf region. Before she ‘got down and dirty’ on teaching the virtual group on how to make her unique challah based on an emirate bread recipe including saffron, cardamom and, of course, dates, Elli talked about her experience of being a Jewish woman, and a Jewish mother, in Dubai. Her business venture, Elli’s Kosher Kitchen, was a result of her own kosher lifestyle that she and her family maintain, even in Dubai. Elli described Dubai as an International community – even the Jewish community is made up of ex-patriates from all over the world. There isn’t an indigenous Emirate Jewish community. Up until the Abraham Accords, with the normalization of relations with Israel, the members of the Jewish community were not necessarily comfortable about displaying their Jewish identity –   they weren’t always sure how open they could be with their peers or colleagues or what response they would receive from their emirate acquaintances once their identity was made public. What I learned from Elli – is that today post Abraham Accords – in addition to 28 direct flights to Israel weekly, visa entry to Israeli’s and Americans upon entry into the UAE, to Kosher kitchens being created in many of the luxury hotels, to integrative business prospects, potential collaborative ventures in medicine, agronomy, water and perhaps even defense - being Jewish in the UAE 2020 is an altogether different experience. One of openness, opportunity and freedom in one’s Jewish Identity; allowing the Jewish community to ‘come out’ and begin to assess its needs, develop goals and create strategy and planning to develop a strong future in this part of the world.

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Topics: Culture and Heritage, Fun stuff, Gil Travel, Jewish Heritage, World Travel

Two Men Walk Into a Sukkah...in Dubai

Posted by Rebecca Stern on October 14, 2020

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Topics: Culture and Heritage, Family Tours, Gil Travel, group travel