Four Jews were murdered in a hostage crisis at the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket in Paris last month, and even as the French Jewish community has reeled from the brutal Islamist terror attack, it has also united, with thousands of unaffiliated Jews reportedly joining communal meals nationwide.
In honor of shloshim, the traditional period marking thirty days since death, the Jewish community in France is poised to come together to observe this Shabbat together.
Joel Mergui, a leader of the French Jewish community and president of the Israelite Central Consistory of France that was established by Napoleon, called for the Shabbat gathering on Friday and Saturday in honor of the murdered Jews, who he points out were killed simply for being Jews.
Mergui remarked that following the Charlie Hebdo massacre which happened two days before the Hyper Cacher attack, and in which 12 people were murdered at the satirical magazine over its cartoons of the founder of Islam, Mohammed, there has been a chain of solidarity forming in the greater French public.
A full seven million copies of the magazine's latest edition featuring Mohammed on the cover have sold in France, notes Mergui, signalling a rallying cry for freedom of speech.
Jews are also gathering in France from all backgrounds – to exercise their freedom of conscience, according to the Jewish leader.
This Shabbat, Mergui called on Jews to gather for an event in which a lecture on the Ten Commandments will be given, and in doing so the community – secular and religious – will connect with the values of Shabbat and honor the victims.
"Let's show solidarity with the families of the victims and their values of Shabbat" by lighting Shabbat candles and going to synagogue to pray, said Mergui, noting that the final SMS sent by Yoav Hattab, one of the victims and the son of the chief rabbi of Tunisia, was to a friend encouraging him to observe the Shabbat.
Mergui pointed out that the anti-Semitic violence and terrorism that has sprung loose in France targets all Jews, be they religious or secular. He went on to note that Holocaust survivors say France is reminiscent of how it was in 1939, at the opening of a horrific "new page" in European history.
Asking what the new page Europe now faces will bring, Mergui emphasized that Jews have survived all those who sought to destroy them, even as their opponents were erased from history.