(July 30, 2021, New York City, JNS Wire) The American Sephardi Federation welcomed the first Sharaka: Gulf-Israel Social Entrepreneurship Center delegation to the US for a tour of the National Sephardic Library & Archives at the Center for Jewish History and to sign Sharaka’s historic first MOU.
“The Sharaka delegation is honored to have been received by the leadership at ASF and are excited to be working together on this new partnership. After learning so much about Jewish history in this tour , we acknowledge that there is a lot of opportunity to spread this information to the wider Gulf communities and help bring Muslim, Jews, and Christians closer,” said Sharaka USA CEO Omar Al Busaidy, a best-selling Emirati author, entrepreneur, diplomat, and Fulbright Scholar.
Sharaka (which means “partnership”) was founded by young leaders from Israel and the Gulf in order to turn the vision of people-to-people peace into a reality. The Sharaka-ASF MOU, promoting the principles of coexistence set forth by the Abraham Accords, advances research, scholarship, education, interfaith collaboration, as well as young leadership and entrepreneurship. Sharaka and the ASF will also be sharing office space in the Dubai and New York. The ASF currently has three offices in the Kingdom of Morocco as part of the USAID-sponsored “Rebuilding Our Homes” Initiative in partnership with Association Mimouna.
The Sharaka delegation, including Muslims and Jews from the United Arab Emirates, Israel, Kingdom of Bahrain, and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, was led by Omar Al Busaidy and Dan Feferman, an Israeli-American author, speaker, and researcher. Other participants included Saudi-American researcher and writer Dr. Najat Al-Saied and Sumaiiah Al Mheiri, founder of the first Arabic-Hebrew language exchange platform in the UAE and the 1st Emirati to pursue a degree in Hebrew language and literature in Israel.
Al Mheiri said: “I enjoyed seeing the multiculturalism of the Jewish center, which included Sephardi, Ashkenazi, and other cultures. Was also impressed by the artwork, garments, and other items, especially from Yemeni Jews.”
The delegates were received by the Chairman of the ASF’s Board of Directors, Mike Nassimi, a member of the Mashadi Jewish community and Board Member of Iranian Jewish Federation of New York (IAJF-NY); Hakham Rabbi Elie Abadie, M.D., Senior Rabbi of the Jewish Community of the Emirates, Rabbi of the Association of Gulf Jewish Communities (AGJC), and Chair of the ASF’s Council of Sephardic Sages; and Lauren Gibli, President of the ASF Young Leaders (ASFYL).
“The kindness, positivity, and eagerness of the Sharaka delegates was incredible,” said Gibli, adding: “It was inspiring to witness this signing ceremony, signaling the next chapter of collaboration with our partners in the Middle East. The future is bright across various domains, and we cannot wait to see what we can accomplish together, which is especially meaningful for the younger generations and generations to come.”