Community Rallies in France; Chabad Remains Open

Community Rallies in France; Chabad Remains Open

(AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)

A shattered window of the pizzeria at the Ohr Menahem Community Center in St. Denis, outside Paris, Monday Jan. 12, 2009

by Zalman Nelson - St-Denis, France

January 13, 2009

( The Chabad center in St-Denis, France was attacked with nine Molotov cocktails on Sunday night, breaking a window and charring the walls of a pizzeria on the bottom floor. Rabbi Mendel Belinow and other people were inside the synagogue when the fire broke out, but no one was injured.

A week after a synagogue in Toulouse was attacked with a flaming car, the explosions occurred just as evening prayers had finished and Belinow was making the rounds of the building to close up for the night. Witnesses called the police and reported seeing several people fleeing the scene. Many more cocktails were found abandoned on the ground outside the building.

“It’s a miracle no one was hurt with that many bombs. And the timing, it was like they knew when we were leaving and specifically wanted to hurt Chabad or Jews,” said Rabbi Belinow who condemned the act and called on officials to find the criminals, bring them to justice and add security at all Jewish institutions until the situations quiets down.

Rabbi Belinow told that he has been participating in several meeting with prosecutors, press and local officials for the past day discussing the criminal investigation and police proposals for improving the buildings security.

St-Denis Mayor, Didier Paillard said the attack was “unbearable” and called upon the city’s residents of “to express their condemnation”. In an effort to quell the fears of the Jewish community, Chabad hosted a rally on Monday night with over 200 people, including local politicians and religious representatives in front of the center.  

 “We’re not going anywhere and we’re not stopping,” said Rabbi Belinow. “The center is taking steps to ensure safety and everything is open as usual.”

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