On Sunday, Consistoire President Dr Joel Mergui and France’s Chief Rabbi Haim Korsia addressed Paris’ Grande Synagogue, La Victoire, at a ceremony commemorating Jews deported to the Nazi’s death camps.  Dr Mergui, after quoting the Talmud’s “He who saves a life saves all of humanity,” added, “He who kills a Jew, a Yazidi, a Gypsy or a Christian of the East, kills all of humanity, because this crime against defenceless minorities demonstrates contempt for humanity.”

Rabbi Korsia began by quoting his predecessor, Grand Rabbin Jacob Kaplan’s, famous 1947 speech on the same occasion – “The honour of addressing you on this occasion should not have been given to me, but rather to a Rabbi, who’d returned from a concentration camp.  Sadly, not one could speak before you; because not one returned.”

Invoking “The stranger that sojourneth with you shall be unto you as the home-born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself” (Lev. 19:34,) Rabbi Korsia asked, now in his own words, “What can we do for the minorities persecuted in the Orient, those refugees fleeing war, poverty, and indescribable suffering?”  He reminded us of Chanticleer the Cock’s fearful indictment of those of us who look the other way, when action is called for – “Cursed be the eyes which close, when they should stay open.”

“Refugees,” the Chief Rabbi concluded, “are our brothers.”

Mergui Valls Korsia 8 Sep 15

L to R:  Dr Mergui; Premier Valls; Rav Korsia  – 8 Sep 2015
© Alain Azria, with permission of Consistoire de France

© Andrew M Rosemarine 2015