In an address to the Jewish community of her country via Zoom last Friday afternoon, United Arab Emirates Minister of State for Youth Affairs Shamma Al Mazrui emphasized the similarities between Isalm and Judaism, noting the “wisdom of Shabbat.”
The address was reported in Times of Israel and also posted as an op-ed. Al Mazuri opened the session by wishing “Good Shabbos to you all.” She explained that this was her “first ritual Shabbat dinner” but that she had experienced the Jewish Sabbath “from afar” when she spent a semester in New York City in 2014 at the Stern School of Business as the UAE’s first Rhodes Scholar. She described the Jewish rituals she witnessed there as “pathways to peace, completeness, and wholeness.” She compared this to the teachings of Mohammad as being “constant reminders to go back to God, for peace and thanksgiving,” describing the Shabbat as “the power of the pause.”
Adding a prayer to mark the Jewish New Year, she expressed hope that Abraham Accords signed between Israel and the UAE would mark a path forward together.
She noted that the sabbath was special, falling between Rosh Hashanna and Yom Kippur.
“I was blown away in learning about teshuva,” she went on, using the Hebrew term for repentance. “And now with the head of the year, we have a perfect call to shake out old fixed ways, to review who we want to be as individuals and as nations. A time of truth-telling, a time to do the work within ourselves, a time to shake it up.”
Al Mazuri is fluent in Arabic, English, French, and Chinese. She was appointed as Minister of State for Youth Affairs in 2016 at age 22, making her the youngest member of the UAE cabinet and the youngest government minister in the world. She is one of eight women in the twenty-nine member Cabinet.
Earlier this month, Israel 365 News reported on the Armani/Kaf – the first kosher-certified dining destination in the UAE, which officially opened its doors on Sept. 17.
What’s your Hebrew name? Find out with a Hebrew Name Certificate here