You only live twice

Vibrant Jewish communities were reborn in Europe after the Holocaust. Is there a future for them in the 21st century?

By MICHEL GURFINKIEL/ MOSAIC
August 15, 2013 12:52
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin 370. (photo credit: Photomontage from Wikipedia via Mosaic Magazine)

Michel Gurfinkiel writes for Mosaic

Samuel Sandler, an aeronautical engineer and head of the Jewish community in Versailles, France, announced a few weeks ago that he’d had the local synagogue registered as a national landmark. “My feeling is that our congregation will be gone within twenty or thirty years,” he told friends, “and I don’t want the building demolished or, worse, used for improper purposes.”

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Once the seat of French royalty, Versailles is now among the tranquil, prosperous, and upscale suburbs of Greater Paris. Among the townspeople are executives employed in gleaming corporate headquarters a few miles away. They and their churchgoing families inhabit early-20th-century villas and late-20th-century condominiums set in majestic greenery. Among the townspeople too, are a thousand or so Jews of similar economic and social status who have made their homes in Versailles and nearby towns. In addition to the synagogue and community center of Versailles itself, a dozen more synagogues dot the surrounding area.

So what makes Sandler so pessimistic about the future?

Read the rest of the essay and debate at Mosaic


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