The display of support for European Jewry took place at the Park East Synagogue on 68th Street and featured Rabbi Harim Korsia, chief rabbi of France, speaking about the deteriorating conditions facing France’s Jewish community, many of whom are leaving the country due to the looming specter of anti-Semitism.
The by invitation only event, which was hosted by Rabbi Arthur Schneier, opened with a choir consisting of French children who now live in New York, singing in French, Hebrew and English.
Noting France’s lengthy and rich Jewish history, Rabbi Korsia chided Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for advising French Jews to relocate to Israel, as reported by The Daily News, and said that the show of support by New Yorkers following last month’s terror attacks has been very therapeutic.
“The courage that New York City showed in the aftermath of 9/11 will serve as a model for Paris,” said Rabbi Korsia. “We felt very alone for a long time … and now we feel together.”
In his remarks, de Blasio noted that an air of indifference permeated France prior to the recent terror attacks and that strong statements need to be made to ensure that anti-Semitism not be allowed to grow unchecked in Europe as it did prior to the Holocaust.
“It’s our moment to say we don’t like this trend we see, we don’t find it acceptable,” said de Blasio. “We don’t allow anyone a pass. Our allied nations in Europe bear responsibility for taking the kind of steps that leave no doubt their absolute commitment to defending their Jewish communities.”
“No Jewish community in Europe should have to beg for protection,” concluded de Blasion. “If we take that most powerful phrase ‘Never Again’ and play out its full meaning, it means that people cannot be indifferent. They can’t assume. They can’t wait inactively. They have to stand up now in the defense of this community and in the sense of freedom.”
Rabbi Schneier, himself a Holocaust survivor, thanked both the president and prime minister of France for their support of the country’s Jewish community and presented Rabbi Korsia, who he described as a frequent visitor to the Park East Synagogue, with a silver apple-shaped honey dish.