By COLlive reporter
Photos by Israel Bardugo
In the wake of the deadly ISIS terrorist attacks in Paris, The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship)’s President Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein today said his organization is expanding emergency security aid to French-Jewish communal institutions. The Fellowship at the same time said it will help any French Jew who wishes to immigrate to Israel.
“Amid the horrific terror attacks in Paris, it is critical that we help better protect French-Jewish communal institutions, which have been targets in the past,” said Eckstein. “At the same time, we are extending our immediate support to any French Jew who wishes to leave France and make aliyah (immigrate) to Israel.”
The Fellowship is providing immediate emergency aid of more than $86,000 to 25 synagogues and schools run by the Chabad Lubavitch movement across France, including in Paris and Toulouse, to beef up security by adding security guards and more sophisticated security systems.
The aid is the latest of more than $1 million in security support that the Fellowship began providing to Chabad institutions worldwide after the terror attacks in Mumbai against Chabad and others.
The Fellowship has helped enhance security measures at 21 Chabad synagogues and other institutions including in Argentina, Brazil, China, Cypress, Croatia, Denmark, Germany, Nepal, Spain and Thailand, in addition to in India and France.
Rabbi Mendel Azimov, the director of Chabad of Paris, said: “The last few days, have been living hell for the citizens of France, and especially for theJews of Paris. Naturally we feel like sitting ducks, very aware that our community centers, synagogues and educational institutions are in realistic danger at all times.
“Rabbi Eckstein was the first to approach us, seeking to immediately solve any security issues we may have. We do not have words sufficiently strong to express our gratitude. The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews and its donors are saving lives, protecting the principals of freedom and fighting the terrorists with both love and courage.”
At the same time, the Fellowship announced today it will help support any French Jew who wishes to immigrate to Israel. Two families will be leaving France on Monday for Israel with the Fellowship’s assistance, while the Fellowship will also be bringing a special flight of French Jews to Israel at the end of November.
For those French Jews who wish to move to Israel, the Fellowship provides information fairs and preparatory seminars in France, guidance for six months once the immigrants arrive in Israel, employment counseling, one-time financial aid or six months of rental support, tuition assistance for job training, financial assistance to help immigrants learn Hebrew, material aid such as furniture, appliances and medical treatment, and private tutors and informal education for children.
“It is vital that the Jews of France know we stand side-by-side with themand will do whatever is necessary to help their community at this challenging time,” Eckstein said.