Jewish visitors and delegates to the US-led international economic conference in Bahrain this week held a festive prayer session in a long-abandoned synagogue.
“I think you just witnessed the secret weapon of the Jewish people,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. “We come into a Beit Knesset (synagogue), even one that has not been used for a minyan (prayer service) since 1948, and we have an immediate, automatic community.”
“Jews of different backgrounds, religious, irreligious. This is the backbone [of Judiasm], and it even answers the question, ‘how did we survive for 2,000 years in the Diaspora.
“It’s only appropriate that we’re here in Bahrain – we’ll be seeing the king later – and we’ll be pushing for only one issue: open normal relations with the Jewish State.”
Wiesenthal Center founder Rabbi Martin Hier called the prayer service “extremely emotional.”
“At the end of the davening (prayers) we all danced, but how did we get here? We got here because there’s a State of Israel today. If there wouldn’t be a State of Israel, then all these destroyed synagogues, nobody would go into the, not here and not in Europe. And American Jewry would not be as strong today if it wouldn’t be for the State of Israel.”