Macron attends Rosh Hashanah event at Paris synagogue
search

Macron attends Rosh Hashanah event at Paris synagogue

President does not speak at event due to France’s strict separation between state and religion; Jewish leaders warn of rising anti-Semitism

President of the Central Jewish Consistory of Paris Joel Mergui (C) greets French President Emmanuel Macron (L) upon his arrival to attend a ceremony to mark the Jewish New Year - Rosh Hashanah - at The Great Synagogue in Paris on September 4, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / POOL / YOAN VALAT)
President of the Central Jewish Consistory of Paris Joel Mergui (C) greets French President Emmanuel Macron (L) upon his arrival to attend a ceremony to mark the Jewish New Year - Rosh Hashanah - at The Great Synagogue in Paris on September 4, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / POOL / YOAN VALAT)

French President Emmanuel Macron attended an event at the Great Synagogue of Paris on Tuesday to mark Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, which is due to start on Sunday evening.

Upon his arrival at the synagogue, Macron was greeted by France’s Chief Rabbi Haim Korsia, Joel Mergui, who serves as president of the Consistoire organization that provides religious services to French Jews, and the chief rabbi of Paris, Michel Gugenheim.

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, French Senate President Gerard Larcher and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo also attended the ceremony.

The Elysee said it was the first time the president had attended such an event — France has a strict separation between state and religion, referred to as “laicite.” For the same reason, Macron did not give a speech at the event.

French President Emmanuel Macron (C) shakes hands as he leaves a ceremony to mark the Jewish New Year – Rosh Hashanah – at The Great Synagogue in Paris on September 4, 2018 (AFP PHOTO / POOL / YOAN VALAT)

Jewish community leaders took the opportunity to share their concerns with the president about rising anti-Semitism in the country.

“Our rabbis… note the upsurge in anti-Semitic acts,” said Mergui, also lamenting “the dangers and ravages of anti-Jewish speech” on social networks.

Mergui said the Jewish community should not be “collateral damage” in the secular fight against Islamism.

French President Emmanuel Macron (R) and former French President Nicolas Sarkozy (L) listen to speeches during a ceremony to mark the Jewish New Year – Rosh Hashanah – at The Great Synagogue in Paris on September 4, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / POOL / YOAN VALAT)

He claimed: “After having been for a long time the European country with the greatest Jewish immigration, France has today become the country with the largest Jewish emigration in the world.”

The Jewish leadership also expressed concerns about the rise of populism and racism in Europe.

Mergui said that ritual slaughter, circumcision and vacation on religious holidays should “no longer be seen as concessions at the margins of the law… but obvious freedoms.”

Macron was given several jars of honey — a traditional Jewish gift for Rosh Hashanah to symbolize a sweet new year.

Join us!
A message from the Editor of Times of Israel
David Horovitz

The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.

We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.

Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.

Become a member of The Times of Israel Community
read more:
comments