“Amen~Amen~Amen” follows the 2018 journey of a historic gift, a Torah Scroll, from a small Jewish Community in Dubai to the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.
Two years before the normalization agreement between Israel and the UAE, the fledgling Jewish community in the Emirates, which has later become known as the Jewish Council of the Emirates (JCE), collaborated with Religion Media Company to document the unusual story of that Torah scroll.
The new film’s website says “AMEN – AMEN – AMEN! breaks open the story of a Muslim nation, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), that considers religious pluralism an important public policy, indeed, a civic virtue, as told through the story of a specially made Torah Scroll created in Israel in honor of the late Sheikh Zayed, the Founding Father of the UAE, that traveled from Israel to Brooklyn to Abu Dhabi, and is then presented to His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, by the Jewish Community of the Emirates.”
The key figure in this project is a Businessman named Eli Epstein, the former CEO and majority shareholder of Calco, a producer of calcined petroleum coke, and a joint venture partner with Conoco Inc. Epstein initiated the acquisition of calcining assets from British Petroleum in 1989 and established Venco as one of the world’s leading suppliers of carbon to basic industry.
Epstein’s extensive contacts with the Arab Middle East have generated several projects, including Children of Abraham—an internet-based initiative that allows young Muslims and Jews to discover their common heritage and practices. He initiated visits by leading Orthodox rabbis to the United Arab Emirates to build bridges of understanding and cooperation. He was also instrumental in initiating an interfaith educational initiative sponsored by the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi that included religious leaders from the three Abrahamic faiths, which was hosted by Yale University (source: The Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council).
“The gesture of dedicating a Torah scroll to an Arab ruler is unimaginable,” Eli Epstein told Khaleej Times, a daily English language newspaper published in Dubai.
According to KT, “David, a Jewish craftsman in Jerusalem who fled Baghdad with his parents says he hopes this Torah scroll will bring Jews and Muslims closer together. ‘My son told me that we are making a Torah scroll for Dubai. I told him – prepare the most beautiful book, the most professional, the most correct. I feel that a Torah scroll reaching a Muslim country – it gives me such a good feeling.”
The documentary AMEN – AMEN – AMEN! is expected to be released in early 2021.