The UAE’s Jewish community will gather over the coming days to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, with special ceremonies planned in Dubai.
The holiday starts on Monday at sunset and ends on Wednesday.
It is one of the holiest festivals in Judaism, marking the beginning of the religion’s calendar year.
“Rosh Hashanah means the head of the year. It is the beginning of the year,” said Rabbi Dr Elie Abadie, the UAE’s senior rabbi in residence.
“It is believed in our tradition that this is the time when the world was created and Adam, the first human, was also created.”
It will be the biggest Rosh Hashanah in the UAE yet, because it is being celebrated about a year after the country agreed to establish diplomatic relations with Israel.
Dr Abadie said he was expecting many members of the Jewish community in Dubai to celebrate together at JW Marriot Marquis.
The holiday is a time when Jews hold prayers and supplications, light candles and eat together.
“We have the sounding of the shofah, the horn, to symbolise first the beginning of the new year and secondly to create a sense of awe and trepidation of that sound to awaken us to repent from our bad deeds and to commit ourselves to do good deeds for the next year to come,” Dr Abadie said.
“It’s like we take stock of all our actions of the year past.”
It is not considered to be a Jewish new year per se, but a new year for the “entire world we live in", he said.
It marks the day in which Jews believe the world was created and is in a sense also a day of judgment, he said.
"It’s a day in which after an entire year, the entire humanity is judged for their actions, be it good deeds or bad deeds," he said.
“Based on that, then the reward or consequence will come to that individual, that community, that nation, in the year to come. It’s a date of judgement not just of individuals, but of communities, of nations and of people."