Rabbi Pinchas Goldshmidt, the President of the Conference of European Rabbis offered his condolences to the people of France and the Catholic community following the devastating fire at the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris yesterday.
"Notre-Dame of Paris is a symbol of human ingenuity and endurance, celebrating almost one thousand years of European and French culture, architecture and freedom. Places of worship are a bridge between our past and future, symbolizing the aspiration of man to reach new heights and spirituality. The Conference of European Rabbis expresses its solidarity with France and especially with its Catholic community following this devastating incident and wish them strength and hope."
One firefighter was seriously injured in the fire that broke out Monday evening.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said on Monday night that firefighters were optimistic that they could salvage the cathedral’s iconic main towers.
Speaking outside the cathedral, fire chief Jean-Claude Gallet had told reporters he was “not sure we are capable of stopping the spreading” to Notre Dame’s second tower and belfry, but he later said they had indeed been successful in stopping it from spreading to the northern belfry of the 850-year-old building.
French President Emmanuel Macron said the "worst has been avoided" in the fire and added, “We will rebuild Notre Dame”. He also said he would launch an international fundraising campaign for the restoration of the cathedral.
The blaze collapsed the cathedral’s spire and had spread to one of its landmark rectangular towers. The 12th-century cathedral is home to incalculable works of art and is one of the world’s most famous tourist attractions, immortalized by Victor Hugo’s 1831 novel “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”
The cause of the blaze was not known, but The Associated Press quoted the Paris fire brigade as saying the fire is “potentially linked” to a 6 million-euro renovation project on the church’s spire and its 250 tons of lead.
Prosecutors have opened an investigation into the cause of the fire.