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Toulouse, France

Thursday, 22 March, 2012 - 6:41 pm

In 2004, Chani and I had the privilege of visiting the Jewish community in Toulouse, France, when we attended the wedding of Chani's brother who married the daughter of the Chabad Rabbi there, Rabbi Yosef Matusof. These past few days, memories from that visit have been flooding my mind. 

Though I’d been to France before - that was the first time I got to experience the Jewish community from within. It was very interesting and unique. Thinking in particular about my experience in Toulouse - two things stand out in the life of that community.

First was unity. There were a few synagogues, organizations, and Rabbis and they all worked together with mutual respect. The deep connection between the members of the communities was apparent. I remember the joy they expressed at the wedding, the shining faces of the participants appearing as though they were marring their own child. 

The other feeling displayed so beautifully by the community was their great warmth. The feeling of family and great care wasn’t only toward their own community members, but was, perhaps even more so, toward the guests. Guests who had been there for only a few hours were treated with charm like they had been there forever. 

The tragedy that hit the community at the beginning of this week is beyond words. The pain of the families of the young children is unbearable. I can just imagine the great shock the community finds itself in right now, and the broken hearts of children who saw evil in its ugliest form. 

Let’s pray for the young injured child, Aaron Ben Leah, who is still fighting for his life, for a complete and speedy recovery. Let's send our blessings from the depth of our hearts to all our brothers and sisters of the Toulouse Jewish community. May the All-mighty give you the strength to overcome these horrific days, may He bring healing to each one of you and to the collective community, and may you see very soon, together with all of us, the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah, "God shall wipe the tears off every face, and the shame of His people He shall remove from upon the entire earth." Amen!

Comments on: Toulouse, France

Inna wrote...

As in all times before when our brethren are harmed it is us that are hurt too. We all are connected and feel tremendous pain. It shows us time and time again that we must support each other no matter how hard it is at times. May G-d give strength to all the families that are suffering unimaginable pain now.

Uttam wrote...

one of dimi's links Like many other iniquitous laws in the state of all its Jews, a “person who is eliblgie to immigrate to Israel under the Law of Return” – that’s how you put the word “Jew” into Israeli law without making the bill sound too racist – gets a pass and does not have to pledge anything. As Na’ama Carmi points out (Hebrew), Jewish new immigrants (‘olim’) are not considered new citizens; under the Law of Return they are natives – or rather, much more confusingly, the law considers all Israeli Jews to be olim, even if they were born here.So, this new bill has one point and one point only: to poke a finger in the eyes of Palestinian citizens of Israeli – to remind them again that they are second-class citizens; that if one of them would like to marry someone holding Jordanian or Egyptian citizenship, the new family member will have to go through an arduous process to acquire citizenship, at the end of which he or she will have to pledge allegiance to a Jewish state. That is, not to a state in which all of the citizens are equal, but to one in which there are two distinct classes of citizens, divided by their origin natives and invaders. And that’s not me saying this: look it up in the Law of Return.So what did Barak do? He stated he was not involved in the proceedings (where was he? Asleep?), and that he demands an amendment (Hebrew): “I hereby pledge myself to be a loyal citizen to the State of Israel, being a Jewish and Democratic State according to the principles of the Declaration of Independence, and I pledge myself to uphold the laws of the state” (my italics).Barak may be of the opinion that this bit about the Declaration of Independence may somehow help the Palestinian citizens, perhaps diminishing his humiliation. If so, he is – as usual – sorely mistaken. But I doubt strongly that Barak was even thinking of Palestinian-Israelis; he was aiming at the rapidly diminishing ranks of his supporters on the Zionist left, trying to seduce them by mentioning the Declaration of Independence, which the leftist Zionists view as something of a totem. This “Jewish State,” he is trying to say, is not the one the rabbis are thinking of. Maybe, if he waves the Declaration at them, they’ll think he’s not selling them out – again – to the right-wingers. To make a long story short, maybe if he puts lipstick on the pig, they’ll ignore its porcine nature and let him stay in the Liberman-Netanyahu government. A little lipstick goes a long way.Assuming Barak still has some supporters – a questionable assumption – they must have missed the memo that the government he’s in has already hollowed out the Declaration, and has already decided (Hebrew) that a Jewish state – or, at the very least, this particular Jewish state – cannot be democratic or equal. In January, the government refused to support a bill saying simply that the assets of the state would be portioned equally among all its citizens.i left all the references to (hebrew)' in the text because at the link they all link to discussions in hebrew. obviously lots of people are discussing this in hebrew. this part here: This “Jewish State,” he is trying to say, is not the one the rabbis are thinking of. ..hmm, not sure what that means.

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