By: Sruli Friedman  | 

YU, Mohamed Bin Zayed University to Hold Jewish Studies Conference in Dubai

Yeshiva University and Mohamed Bin Zayed University for Humanities (MBZUH) will hold a Jewish studies conference at the Crossroads of Civilization Museum in Dubai Wednesday, the first such conference to be held between YU and an Islamic University.

The conference, titled “Interacting Philosophies, Shared Friendships,” will feature speeches by faculty members of both universities on topics related to historical interactions between Jewish and Muslim communities and philosophers of both faiths. 

Organized by Senior Adviser to the Provost and Deputy Director of the Straus Center Rabbi Stuart Halpern and the Crossroads of Civilizations Museum’s founder, Ahmed Almansoori, the event will be attended by Emirati officials, community members and students from both universities. Planning for the event began in January, Halpern told The Commentator.

Almansoori, a former member of the UAE Federal National Council who has held numerous positions in UAE’s government, founded the Crossroads of Civilization museum in 2013. The museum contains a variety of collections, with artifacts relating to the many civilizations that passed through Dubai by exploration and trade, the broader history of the Middle East and Islamic art. According to its website, the museum’s “key message is that human tolerance of diversity, and multiculturalism, in all its forms, enables creativity and human development.” In 2021 the museum opened the first Holocaust memorial exhibition in the UAE.

“We are grateful to His Excellency Ahmed Almansoori for his warm spirit of collaboration in planning and hosting this week's program at his Crossroads of Civilization Museum, and are eager to see our communities' and our countries' relationship strengthen and flourish,” Halpern said to The Commentator.

Some of the speakers at the conference will be by Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies Dean Daniel Rynhold, Assistant Director of the Sacks-Herenstein Center Shira Weiss and Arthur C. Schneier Program of International Affairs Director Ronnie Perelis from YU, and Professors Ebrahim Bourshashen and Haider Hussain of MBZUH. Almansoori and Halpern will provide opening remarks.

The event will be available for live viewing from 6 to 9 p.m. Dubai time, or 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. EST.

The program is being presented jointly by YU’s Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies, the Rabbi Arthur Schneier Program for International Affairs and The Zahava and Moshael Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought. Five students from Stern College for Women, two from the Schneier Program and three from the Straus Center, will attend the event.

“I am excited to visit Dubai and learn more about its history while also celebrating the promising future of our nations,” Penina Spearman (SCW ‘23), a Straus Scholar, told The Commentator. “Thank you to the Straus Scholars program for arranging this meaningful trip!”

Besides the conference, YU students will attend an event commemorating the 75th anniversary of Israel’s founding at the Israeli Embassy in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

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Photo Caption: Dubai Skyline

Photo Credit: ZQ Lee / Unsplash