Bnei Akiva dedicated its new Paris headquarters.
The religious Zionist youth movement’s Paul Roitman Center was dedicated Sunday. Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO, David Kornbluth, and the former chief rabbi of Paris, Alain Goldman, attended the ceremony.
Paul Roitman was the founder of Bnei Akiva in France and a hero of the French resistance. He died in Jerusalem in August.
Roitman, a native of Poland, moved to eastern France at the age of 5. In 1941 he fled to Toulouse in the French free zone, where he set up a Jewish studies circle that formed the core leadership of the Jewish underground. He settled in Paris, where he devoted his life to rebuilding the Jewish community. In 1950 he was named the Jewish Agency’s European and North African director of the Religious Section of the Youth and Pioneer Department.
For 20 years he criss-crossed Europe by train, strengthening Jewish youth centers and creating new ones in postwar communities throughout Europe. Roitman moved to Jerusalem with his family in 1970, where he continued his involvement in social issues.