Dubai Marina
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On May 3, 2023, Yeshiva University (YU) and the Mohammed Bin Zayed University for Humanities (MBZUH) will be holding the first-ever joint conference between an American Jewish university and an Emirati university at the Crossroads of Civilization Museum (CCM) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The conference will further strengthen academic partnerships between YU and the UAE, and promote new opportunities for dialogue between Jews and Muslims in the Middle East.

In the wake of the historic Abraham Accords, Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman, President of Yeshiva University, delivered the keynote address at the April 2021 Holocaust Commemoration at the Museum, the first such event in an Arab country. Wednesday’s conference, presented in partnership with YU’s Bernard Revel Graduate School, Rabbi Arthur Schneier Program for International Affairs, and the Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought, seeks to further strengthen ties between YU and the UAE’s Muslim community.

“Writing in Newsweek following the 2021 Holocaust Commemoration event, YU’s President Berman had noted that, 'The biblical brothers Isaac and Ishmael stand to embrace each other once more.' This opportunity calls for attention and investments, in areas like education, that humanize and enrich people's understanding of one another,” said YU’s Rabbi Dr. Stuart Halpern, Senior Adviser to the Provost and Deputy Director of the Straus Center, who is coordinating the program with the Museum’s founder, Ahmed Almansoori, a former member of the United Arab Emirates Federal National Council.

“We are proud to be partnering with academic colleagues and both the Muslim and Jewish communities as we enrich each other through shared learning and strengthened friendship.”

Titled, “Interacting Philosophies, Shared Friendships,” the program will cover social dynamics, philosophical exchanges and mutual influence between Judaism and Islam, with a particular focus on the great medieval scholar Moses Maimonides. A kosher dinner will be served, and local dignitaries, religious leaders, scholars, and university students from YU and MBZUH will be in attendance.

During the first session, the Dean of Revel, Dr. Daniel Rynhold will discuss "Maimonides and the Parable of the Sultan’s Palace," and MBZUH's Dr. Ibrahim Burshashen will speak on "The Relationship between Ibn Rushd and Ibn Maimon." In the next session, MBZUH’s Dr. Haider Hussain will discuss "The Role and Impact of Islamic Civilization on Jewish Philosophy, with Maimonides as an Example," and Director of the YU Schneier Program for International Affairs Dr. Ronnie Perelis will offer "A Cosmopolitan History of the Jewish-Muslim Encounter." The final part of the program will feature Dr. Shira Weiss, Assistant Director of the YU Rabbi Sacks Center for Leadership and Values, who will discuss the influence of Ibn Rushd on the philosophy of Joseph Albo.

The next day, the YU scholars will be led on a VIP tour of the Abrahamic Family House led by Rabbi-in-Residence Ben de Toledo, who spent a year studying at YU’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. The building, which houses a synagogue, church, and mosque, recently opened, with YU alum Rabbi Yehuda Sarna, Chief Rabbi of its Moses Ben Maimon Synagogue, delivering the dedication.

Following the tour, the YU scholars will be guests of the Israeli ambassador to the UAE, Amir Hayek, as Israel’s Independence Day is celebrated in Abu Dhabi, UAE.