Rabbi Yehuda Sarna, Chief Rabbi of the UAE, Addresses Honors Students

Rabbi Yehuda Sarna
(courtesy of the UAE Embassy to the US)

At a historic moment in which the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel are normalizing diplomatic relations, Dr. Eliezer Schnall, director of the Yeshiva College Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Honors Program, welcomed Rabbi Yehuda Sarna ’01YC, ’05R, the Chief Rabbi of the UAE, to speak at the first virtual Honors Luncheon of the academic year on Wednesday, Sept. 9.

Rabbi Sarna spoke about his experiences in the UAE in fascinating detail, particularly about how a chief rabbinate came to be established there. He explained how the chief rabbinate mediates between the UAE government and the Jewish community both in the UAE and beyond. He discussed the first religious classes he presented to the local Jewish community in 2015 and how deeply they resonated with the audience. “Bringing the relevant Torah to the moment and then allowing people’s human experience to match the teaching,” he observed, “gives the greatest sense of fulfillment.”

Yeshiva College Honors students were greatly inspired by the presentation. Ephraim Meiri ’24YC expressed his excitement about “being able to take advantage of our remote environment and hear from Rabbi Sarna about the dynamics of the budding Jewish community in the UAE.”

“We thank Rabbi Sarna for his wonderful presentation,” said Dr. Schnall. “The Honors Program at Yeshiva College is committed to using whatever platform is available in order to offer its students enriching and stimulating intellectual opportunities.”