Manama, the capital of the Gulf state of Bahrain, has a beis knesses. The entrance to the building, not far from this week’s economic conference in the city, is unmarked, and one can rarely find a minyan there.
But this week, it was different. On Wednesday morning there was a minyan for Shacharis.
Among the mispallelim on this unique occasion were a broad range of diplomats, journalists, Rabbis and scholars. They included Jason Greenblatt, President Donald Trump’s special adviser for Middle East peace; Middle East scholar David Makovsky; New York Times Yerushalayim bureau chief David Halbfinger; and Aryeh Lightstone, an aide to U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.
Greenblatt wrote on Twitter that he prayed for his family and for peace. “This is an example of the future we can all build together,” he wrote.
“That’s the secret of the Jewish people — whenever you step into a shul, wherever you are in the world, you feel like home,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, of the Wiesenthal Center.
At the conclusion of davening there was a dvar Torah, and then something altogether unexpected in a place like this: a minyan of mispallelim in tallis and tefillin circling the bimah and singing “Am Yisrael Chai” — the people of Israel live.