A kosher supermarket opens in Dubai for the local Jewish community (and tourists)
A first in Gulf states, the store opening reflects growing ties with Israel following the "Abraham Accords". Called Rimon, the supermarket is located near the local Jewish community centre. For Rabbi Levi Duchman, it will add “tremendous happiness”. Its first great moment is the upcoming celebration of Hanukkah, the festival of lights.
Dubai (AsiaNews) – Dubai’s first kosher supermarket opened its doors to serve the city’s Jewish community; the latter has been growing in the past two years, thanks in part to the "Abraham Accords" signed by Israel and some Arab countries.
With the number of Jews rising, so has the demand for kosher food required by observant Jews, stimulating an interest for this niche market.
Called Rimon (Pomegranate in Hebrew), the new supermarket is the first of its kind in the entire Gulf region, located a five-minute drive from the local Jewish community centre, which has a synagogue and offers Torah classes as well as social and cultural gatherings.
One of the people behind the supermarket opening is Rabbi Levi Duchman, a prominent member of the Jewish community of the United Arab Emirates, who wanted to thank local authorities for their help in getting the store going.
“When I arrived eight years ago, I always felt the need to build more Jewish infrastructure," Duchman told Al-Monitor. "Now that we have a full kosher supermarket, and a chance for families and tourists to come visit; it is a huge step for normalisation and towards living a Jewish life here in the UAE.”
The supermarket opening is taking place close to the holiday season, when the demand for traditional food is abundant. Shelves are stocked with popular and traditional items such as chips, jams, soups, etc.
The Jewish celebration of Hanukkah starts this Sunday and will last for eight days until 26 December; it marks the victory of light over darkness.
For Rabbi Duchman, “Having our kosher supermarket here, allowing families to come and buy kosher food to celebrate, will add tremendous happiness.”
Rimon is also available on social media, offering products and more. As usual, it will close for Shabbath, starting at sunset on Friday until sunset on Saturday.
The local Jewish community felt the need for a kosher store for a long time because their dietary rules are different from halal food and Islamic dietary laws.
In 2021, natives represented 11 per cent of UAE’S resident population, 85 per cent of whom are Sunni Muslims.
Since the signing of the Abraham Accords in September 2020, at least 250,000 Israeli tourists have visited the country and the goal is to bring more from diasporic lands, while the local Jewish community numbers around 500.