Monday, 22 Jul 2019 - 19 of Tammuz, 5779

Jewish community expresses solidarity with France and Catholic Church amid devastating Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral fire

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“Terrible images of the Cathedral of Paris in flames. Solidarity and fraternal thoughts to the Catholics of France. Immense sadness in the face of this tragedy that is burying our country,” tweeted Francis Kalifat, president of Crif, the umbrella representative group of Jewish institutions in France.

NEW YORK—‘’The World Jewish Congress stands in solidarity with the people of France and the Catholic Church amidst the fire that has engulfed the nearly 1,000-year-old Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral, said WJC President Ronald S. Lauder on Monday.

The massive fire burst through the roof of the Cathedral and toppled its spire. The roof was undergoing construction. As of Tuesday, the fire was being called an accident, though an investigation is underway.

“The World Jewish Congress and our affiliated communities in more than 100 countries stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the people of France and the Catholic Church in the face of the unimaginable devastation of the Notre Dame Cathedral, a blow that has struck straight to the heart of Paris,” Lauder said.

He added, “Notre Dame has for centuries stood proud and tall as an inimitable icon, a symbol of the country’s great culture and history. We pray that there are no injuries or loss of life in this tragedy, and that the destruction can be restored to allow this unparalleled structure to return to its position of symbolic majesty on the Parisian skyline.”

“Terrible images of the Cathedral of Paris in flames. Solidarity and fraternal thoughts to the Catholics of France. Immense sadness in the face of this tragedy that is burying our country,” tweeted Francis Kalifat, president of Crif, the umbrella representative group of Jewish institutions in France.

In a tweet, the American Jewish Committee (AJC) said it is ‘’heartbroken’’ and called the fire ‘’a tragedy for Catholics, the people of France, and all who revere that majestic edifice.’’

‘’We are hopeful that it will be swiftly restored to its prior splendor,” he added.

“From Berlin, the heart struck in front of the flames, the ravage and the ashes. A treasure of civilization, for the one who believed in heaven and for the one who did not believe in it. The Europe of civilization, of holy hopes, of greatness and of sweetness. Struck in the heart,” tweeted French Jewish writer and intellectual Bernard-Henri Lévy.

A memorial to those deported from Vichy France to Nazi concentration camps during the Holocaust, Mémorial des Martyrs de la Déportation, is located underground behind the cathedral.

In  Israeli, foreign ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nahshon tweeted: ‘’#NotreDame fire – it is heartbreaking to see this icon of #France and world civilization in flames. Solidarity with Paris and France over this terrible tragedy.’’

JNS contributed to this report.

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