A close friend of Toulouse murder victim Rabbi Sandler tells Arutz Sheva of his last conversation with the rabbi before he left for France.

Aharon Gantz studied in yeshiva for four years with Rabbi Yonatan Sandler before the rabbi left to teach at the Toulouse school he had attended as a child.

“This is a very heavy loss for me. We are in shock,” Gantz said.

His last conversation with Rabbi Sandler was in the Hebrew month of Elul, before the Rosh Hashanah New Year. “He was very excited. He was the kind of person who gave everything he had to the Jewish people and especially to the French community in Israel,” according to Gantz. “His students loved to come to him and speak with him about Judaism.”

Gantz stressed that the school where Rabbi Sandler and his two sons were murdered is the same school Sandler learned in as a child. “His family was from Paris and sent him to Toulouse to learn. Yonatan was very friendly and sociable and was widely known through articles he wrote in France and in Israel. He was totally committed to Torah and mitzvot.”

Rabbi Sandler was born in 1981 and studied Torah in Jerusalem before returning to his native France to marry. He and his wife then moved to Israel, where he studied Torah before arriving in Toulouse for what was supposed to be a two-year term of teaching.

He and his murdered sons are survived by the rabbi’s wife and one young child, a daughter.