4 Tevet 5779 , 12/12/2018

Delegation of the Rabbinical Centre of Europe Completes a Mission to Strengthen and Inspire the Jews of Southern France

15/09/2016 12 Elul 5776

In the course of the RCE initiative, “the Rabbis’ circuit,” in the days leading up to the Yamim Nora’im, Harav Avraham Yosef visited the Jewish communities in southern France, delivering a message of inspiration for upholding Judaism and its traditions.

Delegation of the Rabbinical Centre of Europe Completes a Mission to Strengthen and Inspire the Jews of Southern France Fifteen Jewish children, with large yarmulkes on their heads and tzitzis dangling over their pants, stood in the center of the Muslim neighborhood in the city of Nice, France. There they spoke with Harav Avraham Yosef, Chief Rabbi of Holon, Israel, about their Jewish studies, during his visit to give encouragement and inspiration to the Jewish communities of southern France. His trip was at the initiative of the RCE.
Harav Avraham Yosef spent the entire week touring through southern France, in conjunction with the RCE, to speak to the Jewish communities there and to inspire them in preparation for the coming Yamim Nora’im. Harav Menachem Margolin, the RCE’s director, said, “This trip is part of ‘the Rabbis’ circuit,’ which the RCE arranges every year in various cities in Europe. This year we decided to focus on southern France, prior to the autumn holidays.
Harav Aryeh Goldberg, deputy director of the RCE, and Harav Avraham Abba Turetsky, chairman of the RCE’s division for verifying Jewish identity and personal status, accompanied Harav Avraham Yosef on this trip. Their first stop, on Monday, Sept. 12, was in Bordeaux, where they met with the city’s former Chief Rabbi and dean of the Jewish school Harav Claude Maman, as well as with the city’s officiating Rav, Harav Emanuel Valency. These local leaders accompanied the RCE delegation as they visited the Jewish community and the Jewish school, which is administered by Chabad shlichim, led by Harav Menachem Cohen. Harav Avraham Yosef spoke to the community, focusing on Jewish values and traditions. All those who attended sat spellbound as they listened to Harav Yosef’s lengthy address. Afterward, the delegation visited the local Chabad house. After Harav Yosef delivered his message, the community members and children spoke with him and asked for his brachah.
Next, the delegation visited the city of Pau, where there is a small Jewish community under the leadership of Harav Menachem Mendel Matusof. Harav Yosef spoke to the members of the Pau community, who excitedly welcomed their honored visitors and the distinguished guest whom they had brought. The delegation also visited the local Jewish center, where there is a mikveh that the RCE helped to build.
On Tuesday the delegation visited Toulouse, where they were greeted by the city’s Chief Rabbi Harav Avraham Weill, and by Chabad shaliach Harav Yosef Yitzchak Pinson, together with the other rabbis of Toulouse. The delegation visited the city’s school, which is located in the Jewish Community Center, and the large synagogue in that location.
At the request of the local community leaders, Harav Yosef gave an inspiring talk to dozens of community members, who were spellbound by his words. Afterward, he responded to a long list of questions presented to him by the community on a variety of topics. Then Harav Yosef spoke to the children in the local Jewish school and remarked on how impressed he was with their Torah knowledge.
On Wednesday the delegation visited Marseille, the third-largest city in Europe, with a large Jewish population. They were met by Chief Rabbi Harav Reuven Ohana and by the city’s other Rabbanim and community leaders, headed by the president of the community Mr. Tzvi Amar. The delegation visited Marseille’s Jewish schools first.
The Jewish community prepared a beautiful welcome for the delegation, with the community rabbis, public figures and dozens of the city’s Jews. The avreichim of all Marseilles’ kollelim gathered in Harav Ohana’s beis medrash, and their honored guest Harav Avraham Yosef delivered an involved shiur on the halachos of sechitah on Shabbos.
Then the Rabbanim of the delegation visited the local Chabad school, where the principal, Harav Yaakov Madar, and his educational staff gave them an enthusiastic welcome.
In the course of the day, Harav Yosef gave a number of inspirational talks to the community members, and afterwards to the children, who had come to hear the Chief Rabbi of Holon while he was visiting their city. The delegation ended their visit in the Grande Synagogue de Marseille, together with hundreds of local Jews.
On Thursday the delegation came to the city of Nice, where they were greeted by the city’s Rabbanim, Harav Daniel Tobol, Harav Moshe Margi, and the Chabad shaliach Harav Yosef Yitzchak Pinson. Together with these Rabbanim the delegation visited the local Jewish schools, “Ohr HaTorah” and Chabad. Harav Avraham Abba Turetsky spoke to the children in these schools. The delegation visited all the Jewish institutions in the city, but the highlight of the visit was in the Great Synagogue of Nice, where they were met by the city’s Rabbanim and hundreds of community members.
The Rabbanim of Nice requested that Harav Yosef visit the new mikveh that had been completed just a short time before his visit, so that he could give his opinion on the structure. Harav Yosef said that he was very impressed with the mikveh’s high halachic standards and with the great efforts that had clearly been invested in planning it.
Later in the day, the members of the RCE delegation, together with Harav Avraham Yosef, visited the various neighborhoods. During their visit to the Muslim neighborhood, they were surprised to see young Jewish boys there wearing yarmulkes and tzitzis. The boys told him that there is a local Talmud Torah in the neighborhood. Harav Yosef asked about what they were learning, and soon they were engaged in a lively Torah discussion. Harav Yosef could hardly conceal his amazement at the high level of the boys’ Torah knowledge and understanding of the subjects they were learning. At the end of their conversation he blessed the boys warmly. Later that evening, when he met with the city’s Rabbanim, he remarked how deeply impressed he was by his meeting with the children.
The Rabbanim of all the cities where the delegation toured expressed their deep appreciation for the visit, and explained that it made a strong impression on their communities.

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