An influential East End rabbi helped open the first-ever kosher kitchen in Qatar to feed Jewish soccer fans traveling to the Muslim nation that is hosting the monthlong FIFA World Cup series.
Rabbi Marc Schneier, leader of The Hampton Synagogue in Westhampton Beach, announced the kitchen, which is under the supervision of Rabbi Mendy Chitrik of Istanbul, who is also chairman of the Alliance of Rabbis in Islamic States, and his son, Rabbi Eliyahu Chitrik. The kosher food includes the baking of the first bagels in Qatar and other ethnically Jewish delicacies.
“The leadership of the State of Qatar is performing a ‘mitzvah’ by making kosher food available for members of the worldwide Jewish community, including those traveling from Israel,” said Schneier, who is also president of the New York-based Foundation for Ethnic Understanding. “Furthermore, the Qataris have stood by and followed through on every commitment that was made to welcome Jewish fans to this prestigious event.”
Qatar has no indigenous Jewish community or kosher food production, making it harder for Jewish football fans to share in the celebration of the World Cup, which ends December 18. It also has no relations with the State of Israel, but recently announced direct flights from the Jewish state for the duration of the competition.
Rabbi Schneier thanked H.E. Mr. Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways, for dedicating a kosher kitchen at QACC — Qatar Aircraft Catering Company, and Attila Dogudan, Chairman of FIFA’s VIP caterer Do & Co, for overseeing the Kosher Qatar initiative.
During a stint as president of the New York Board of Rabbis in the 1990s, Schneier was instrumental in inaugurating Kosher food stands at Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium (aka Citi Field) that spread to stadiums across the United States.