On Tuesday night, thousands of French Jews participated in a special event led by the rebbes of Satmar and Pshevorsk, and intended to strengthen Jewish education among French Jews.
Over the past two years, France’s growing anti-Semitism and terror have led a record number of French Jews to immigrate to Israel. However, the hasidic rebbes said, these Jews also lose their connection to Jewish tradition.
“Specifically in Israel, children learn in public schools,” one of the influential businessmen said. “And because of that, we’re losing our next generation.”
The Satmar and Pshevorsk rebbes have worked to create schools which teach only Jewish studies, in an attempt to persuade the local Jewish community to provide their children with a Jewish education and not to leave France.
“Your place is here,” the Satmar Rebbe said on Tuesday night. “Don’t move to Israel.”
He explained that his fathers, the founders of his hasidic sect, worked to provide for the spiritual welfare of Moroccan and Algerian Jews. Already decades ago, they built schools for these communities’ children, or provided support to the existing schools.
“Today, many people are leaving for Israel, and cutting off all connection with Judaism,” the Satmar Rebbe continued. “It’s a spiritual holocaust.”
“You must continue to stay here, and send your children only to schools which provide a true Jewish education.”