Tuesday, 19 Nov 2019 - 21 of Heshvan, 5780

Amid rise of antisemitism in Europe, new European Center of Judaism inaugurated in Paris

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +

The European Center of Judaism (CEJ) includes three entities covering an area of ​​almost 5,000 m2. A 600-seat synagogue, 200 of which for women on the mezzanine, will be flanked by two five- and seven-storey buildings: offices and, above all, a 2.500 m2 cultural center with show and exhibition halls.

“Judaism has played a key role in the unity of the continent to build what thought and  European civilization, to basically shape who we are. It is a Jewish part of the European soul, shaped in dark times as well as in happy days,” said French President Emmanuel Macron at the inauguration ceremony.

 

PARIS—French President Emmanuel Macron has inaugurated a new European Center for Judaism in Paris, a religious and cultural complex, at a time of rising anti-Semitism in France and elsewhere in Europe.

According to Joel Mergui, the president of the Consistoire, the body responsible for Jewish religious life in France, said the new center ‘’is an expression of resistance, a desire to reanimate our community, for it to shine and open to the neighborhood, Paris and Europe.’’

“At a time when anti-Semitism is resurging, resisting is not just about protecting or responding, but it’s mostly about converting hearts and minds, that’s what is done here in this center,” said President Macron in his speech.

“Judaism has played a key role in the unity of the continent to build what thought and  European civilization, to basically shape who we are. It is a Jewish part of the European soul, shaped in dark times as well as in happy days, “he added.

Asked if he would tell the French Jews not to do their aliyah and stay in France,  Emmanuel Macron replied: “No, I respect everyone. I say to the Jews of France that they have their place in France, that they are loved there and that they have a history rooted in the Republic. Their departure is an amputation of what the Republic is, in its history, in its values. ”

The European Judaism Center in Paris 17th district inaugurated Tuesday by French President Emmanuel Macron.

It is located at Porte de Courcelles in the heavily-Jewish populated 17th arrondissement of Paris. The choice of the borough owes nothing to chance: the center of gravity of Judaism has moved significantly from the East to the West of Paris, more opulent and deemed safer. The 17th district is prized by the community, which finds a plethora of kosher stores.

The European Center of Judaism (CEJ) includes three entities covering an area of ​​almost 5,000 m2. A 600-seat synagogue, 200 of which for women on the mezzanine, will be flanked by two five- and seven-storey buildings: offices and, above all, a 2.500 m2 cultural center with show and exhibition halls.

The cost is at least 10 million euros, of which some 2.7 million are supported by public funds (state and region) for the cultural part. The city of Paris has set the ground of 1,650 m2, available to the Consistory, the main body of French Judaism, which carries the project. Borrowings, and especially donations, must cover at least seven million euros.

About a third of the new center’s cost came from private donations. The rest came from municipal and government subsidies and sponsorships by firms and nonprofit groups.

The City of Paris agreed to give the expensive piece of land to the Jewish community for the project more than 20 years ago. Construction began in 2015.

Some in the Jewish community had disputed the need to build such a center at a time when so many French Jews have decided to leave France. But the Consistoire under Joel Mergui decided to go ahead with the project as a sign of ”resistance to antisemitism.”

 

Share.

About Author

Leave A Reply