Rabbi of Strasbourg inducted in solemn ceremony

Government representative, Governor of Grand Orient de France: 'France owes great debt to Jews, and we are proud of Judaism's renewal.'

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Mordechai Sones,

Induction speech
Induction speech
צילום: קלוד טרואונג נ'גוק

Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, President of the Conference of Rabbis of Europe, rabbis, and judges from Europe and Israel participated in the induction ceremony of Rabbi Avraham Weill as Rabbi of Strasbourg and the Lower Rhine region of France, which took place in the city's Great Synagogue.

"Today's Strasbourg is renewing its days of glory, and is worthy of the crown of Torah. More than 1,000 Jews learn, are molded, and grow in Torah by sages with kollelim (Torah academies) to teach young scholars rabbinic discipline, Torah and chesed institutions and the jewel in the crown: a kollel for rabbinic judges established by the Jewish Central Consistory of France," Rabbi Goldschmidt said at the ceremony.

The induction ceremony began with recitation of the words "How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob; thine dwelling places, Israel" by the cantor Avi Ohayon accompanied by the Great Synagogue's choir conducted by Charles Ackerman.

Among ceremony participants were the Av Beit Din of Amsterdam, Holland, Rabbi Eliezer Wolf; the Rabbi of Strasbourg, Rabbi Elyakim Gershon Gutman; the Rabbi of the Upper Rhine Region Rabbi Yaakov Fahima; Regional Military Rabbi Rabbi Yonatan Blum; Rabbis of Strasbourg, and the Alsace Region; Rabbi of Congregation Hemdat Shlomo in Strasbourg Rabbi Mandil Samma; President of the Consistoire in France Joel Margi; President of the Consistoire of Alsace John Paul Kling; Government and municipality representatives, and heads of communities and organizations from Israel and Europe.

In an emotional speech after the rabbis and community heads honored him with a tallit, Rabbi Weil said, "I am unworthy of all the kindness, and with honor and reverence I receive the high priesthood in the city where world dignitaries served and I will do everything in my power to continue the holy dynasty. I am aware of the challenges facing me and the young generation of the future who must be brought closer. To build with them the future with the flame of the glorious past while strengthening the communities and institutions of Torah and charity."

After a prayer for France's welfare and the official government appointment by the President of the Consistory John Paul Kling, the representative of the French government and Interior Minister Jean-Luc Marx spoke warmly: "France owes a great debt to the Jews. Our part in the Vichy regime was important to the terrible Holocaust of Europe and we are proud of the renewal of Judaism in spite of the new anti-Semitism that is developing throughout Europe." Marx recounted at length the history of France's Jews for the past thousand years and promised on behalf of the government that France would do all it could to combat anti-Semitism in order for Jews to live there calmly and confidently with freedom of religion and Jewish observance.

Rabbi Avraham Weil was born in Strasbourg and received his ordination from the Rabbinical Seminary in Paris, headed by Rabbi Yitzchak Guggenheim. In the year 5770 (2010) he was appointed Rabbi of Toulouse, France and two years ago was elected as a member of the Standing Committee of the Conference of European Rabbis.