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March 23, 2012 6:00 am

France Jewish Community Sees National Unity in Response to Killings

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Members of France's 17th Parachute Engineer Regiment walk with the coffin of Abel Chennouf during his funeral on Wednesday. Photo: screenshot via CNN.

CS Monitor – Rabbi Ariel Messas was up early teaching Torah to children at a Paris synagogue Monday when his phone lit up with text messages of an attack: Four orthodox Jews murdered at a school in Toulouse that he knew. In a book-lined study room off the temple sanctuary, Rabbi Messas says he tuned his iPhone to a Paris Jewish radio station; all three sub-channels carried the news, and set the device on a heavy wooden table to listen: “It was just past belief.

Messas, whose father was a chief rabbi of Paris, and whose grandfather was chief rabbi in Morocco and then Jerusalem, draws a breath, and says through a well-trimmed beard, “you cannot say how you felt…. it was très, très mal, very bad, and it raised some dark memories of the past in Europe for Jews.

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