Dubai marina in the evening
Dubai marina in the evening iStock

The Hamdi family, which fled Yemen several months ago to flee Houthi radicals, celebrated the Bar Mitzvah of their son in the United Arab Emirate city of Dubai recently.

Amid fears they could be attacked by Houthis, the family was transported out to Abu Dhabi in a complex operation carried out with the assistance of the United Arab Emirates government, in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.

The father, Rabbi Yosef Hamdi, 33, was born in Yemen, and learned in the MeTeiman Yavo yeshiva, where he was ordained as a rabbi, Kikar HaShabbat reported.

After their flight from Yemen to the UAE, Rabbi Hamdi sought to maintain the family’s Jewish lifestyle, but found it difficult without Jewish community around them.

Without prayer quorums, prayer books with the Yemenite-Jewish liturgy, and other accoutrements, the family felt increasingly isolated from its roots.

When Rabbi Hamdi heard a group of Yemenite Jews from Israel were planning on visiting Dubai, he requested that they bring with them religious items, including prayer books, and sought out ways to have the items transported from Dubai to Abu Dhabi – which was then under strict lockdown.

The flight, which had been slated for December, was delayed for months due to the third Israeli lockdown and restrictions on travel in the UAE.

When the group finally arrived on April 6th, Rabbi Hamdi invited the group to a festive meal – which ended up becoming the Bar Mitzvah celebration for Rabbi Hamdi’s son, who turned 13 that day.