French-Jewish families are being forced from their homes in Paris suburbs as Europe continues to be convulsed by levels of anti-Semitism not seen since the end of the Second World War.
The Paris commuter newspaper 20 Minutes documents an “internal exodus” during 2017 of Jews from the Seine-Saint-Denis department, saying it is emblematic of broader concerns that French Jews, like their brothers and sisters across Europe, are finding it increasingly difficult to reconcile their faith with the changing demographics of the continent.
The paper reports that Jews are leaving their homes on the northeastern fringe of Paris to escape the open hostility that French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on Sunday condemned as “well-rooted.” The newspaper reports:
This ‘internal exodus’ is difficult to quantify, but it is clear that many synagogues of Seine-Saint-Denis have closed, for lack of people. In Pierrefitte, the rabbi has recorded a 50 percent decline in the congregations since his arrival thirteen years ago. A similar story is told in (nearby) Bondy, where attendance on Yom Kippur (the holiest day of the Jewish calendar) has fallen from about 800 to 400 in the last decade.
The Bondy synagogue president saw a “deteriorating climate” of the last 15 years as driving the exodus, “It’s hard to explain, it’s provocations, it’s looks,” he lamented. “There are places where we do not feel welcome.”