Six years before the historic “Abraham Accord” peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was even a thought, STAR-K Kosher Certification was active in the UAE, certifying an array of products- from dates to baklawa and aluminium pans to gum acacia. STAR-K has also been sending representatives to Dubai to attend the annual Gulfood food and beverage trade exhibition. In addition,it plays the role of a partner and supporter of the community as it develops in both its physical and spiritual growth, as the owner of STAR-K Elli’s Kosher Kitchen can attest.
“In 2018, I had met Joel Weinberger, who is one of the business developers at STAR-K Kosher Certification, one of the world’s biggest kosher certifying agencies,” shares Elli Kriel. “He travels through Dubai regularly, on his way to Pakistan and India. When he came across my service, he was very supportive and helpful. A few months later, he approached me and said, ‘Let me help you get your business onto the international stage. You’ve got a great story here;
you’re doing a great thing. Let me help you get more customers. I will sponsor a stand for you at Kosherfest, the largest kosher food festival in the U.S.’
Elli was the only exhibitor representing a Middle Eastern Arab country. She served Emirati date cakes and coffee and gave away spices. A real highlight of the event was a visit from the UAE’s consul general to the United States, H.E. Abdalla Shaheen. He came to her booth and they spoke over a cup of Emirati coffee. It was a wonderful acknowledgement and affirmation of Elli’s business and the community.
Elli’s stint at Kosherfest was featured in an article which UAE Ambassador to the U.S., Yousef Al Otaiba, sent to the Israeli media, communicating very directly with Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Israeli public, ‘Look at what is possible if there’s peace! In the UAE, we even have a kosher caterer!’ And the rest is history as the Abraham Accords were signed between the UAE and Israel with Dubai now becoming a leading kosher tourist destination