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I thought I was the only Jew in the entire UAE

13 2 17

I moved to the UAE in 2015 as a 21-year-old and promised my (crazy) loving mother two things:

1) I’d wear my seatbelt anytime I was in a car.

2) I wouldn’t tell anyone I was Jewish.

Now, more than six years later, I reflect on my Jewish life in the UAE and how things have changed. For years, to fulfill my second promise to Mom, I took on an ‘alias’ in the UAE. I told people my last name had Polish Catholic (not Ashkenazi Jewish) roots. To make my story even more credible, I took Easter and Christmas off from work every year.

Sorry, former bosses!

From 2015-2017, I foolishly thought I was the only Jew in the entire UAE.


But then I met a Canadian guy named Alex at the gym in Dubai. And after telling him my name and that I was originally from New York City, he asked me without a blink, “You’re Jewish, too?”

Just like that, Alex became one of my best friends. And over a year later in December of 2018, we heard rumblings of a supposed Hanukkah party in Dubai at a discreet venue known only as ‘the Villa’.

We went.........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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