PARIS (Nov. 13)
Part instructional and part country fair, a daylong Yom Hatorah drew nearly 50,000 Jews from all over France to a Paris suburb Sunday, much to the delight of Chief Rabbi Joseph Sitruk, who organized the event to bring French Jews back to the faith.
People came from as far away as Lille and Marseille, to visit stands promoting Jewish foods and displays of religious ritual objects, periodicals, books and even furniture.
They listened to lectures on Judaism and heard appeals to return to religious ways.
Yom Hatorah was intended to demonstrate that “Jews have a place in a multicultural society such as France is today and should be better acquainted with their heritage,” Sitruk explained.
He said he had expected 15,000 to show up and was surprised by the huge turnout, which included two prominent visitors from Israel: Sephardic Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliahu and Religious Affairs Minister Zevulun Hammer.
According to observers, Yom Hatorah was the largest Jewish religious gathering in France since the war.