Argentina’s chief rabbi makes first public appearance since attack


BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — One month after being brutally attacked in his home, Argentina’s chief rabbi appeared in public in a meeting with the head of the Jewish Agency.

Rabbi Gabriel Davidovich received Isaac Herzog at his Buenos Aires home and offered thanks to Jews around the world who expressed concern and offered prayers for him following the attack.

“It has really strengthened us a lot,” Davidovich said. “Health comes from everyone who called, who prayed … we will be fine.”

Herzog, making an official visit to South America, replied that “the phrase ‘All Israel is responsible for each other’ is not just a statement but an act, so I would like to wish you and your family a Happy Passover, with less pain, less worry and more love of Israel.”

Herzog tweeted in Hebrew, Spanish and English that the rabbi is “recovering and was very moved by the outpouring of love from Jewish communities around the world.”

Davidovich was hospitalized with serious injuries, including nine broken ribs and a punctured lung, after a gang broke into his apartment early on the morning of Feb. 25. The assailants also restrained his wife and robbed the apartment.

The attack is not being treated as a hate crime, and reports have indicated that it was a revenge attack arranged by a prominent member of the Jewish community involved in a divorce case adjudicated by the rabbi.

The rabbi and Herzog were scheduled to participate Tuesday afternoon in a public event at the AMIA Jewish center, where Davidovich will affix a new mezuzah in the renovated entrance to the building, part of the commemoration of 125 years of the institution.

Herzog met Monday with Argentina’s education minister, Alejandro Finocchiaro, and secretary of environment, Rabbi Sergio Bergman, and the ministers agreed to increase cooperation against anti-Semitism, hatred and bigotry, and deepen Holocaust studies.

“Great partnership and friendship!” Herzog tweeted about the meeting.

He also is scheduled to memorialize the victims of the March 1992 terrorist attack against the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, which killed 29.

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