Baku, December 3, AZERTAC
Rabbi Marc Schneier, founding and senior rabbi of The Hampton Synagogue in Westhampton Beach, New York, will lead the first synagogue mission to Azerbaijan and Oman early next year, according to TPS news agency.
The eight-day trip will begin in Azerbaijan where participants will meet with high-level government and public officials, and local Jewish leaders. The group will celebrate the Purim holiday with the Jewish community of Azerbaijan. They will then travel to Oman to meet with government and public officials, and celebrate Shabbat.
Last year, the congregation was invited to visit the Kingdom of Bahrain by King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa as part of his desire to forge better relations between Muslims and Jews. The trip marked the first-ever Jewish congregational mission to an Arab Gulf State.
This historic invitation by the leaders of Azerbaijan and Oman comes as a result of Schneier’s close relationship with them which has developed over the years through the rabbi’s work with the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding (FFEU), of which he is the president and where he has been a pioneer in the field of Muslim-Jewish relations.
“Among the 57 Muslim nations, Azerbaijan is number one when it comes to its support of Israel, its commitment to its indigenous Jewish community and its leadership in the global field of inter-religious and intercultural cooperation,” said Schneier.
“Oman played a historic role of being the first Gulf state to host two Israel Prime Ministers, Prime Ministers Yitzchak Rabin and Benjamin Netanyahu. I’m very excited to bring my congregation to Azerbaijan and Oman who each have such a historic connection with the Jewish community,” he added.
He expressed his hope that this mission “will remind us that as the children of Abraham, Muslims and Jews share a common faith and a common fate. Our mission to Bahrain did just that and helped create a global conversation about the importance of Jewish institutions visiting Muslim countries.”
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