Jewish Agency helping small communities

March 11, 2013 by Benjamin Rutland
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One year after the tragic terror attack in Toulouse, France the Chairperson of the Executive of The Jewish agency for Israel, Natan Sharansky has met with the parents of the late Rabbi Jonathan Sandler who was killed with his two children.from Benjamin Rutland:

Leah Marcu, Miriam Sandler, Natan Sharansky and Samuel Sandler - Photo: Sasson Tiram, the Jewish Agency for Israel)

Leah Marcu, Miriam Sandler, Natan Sharansky and Samuel Sandler – Photo: Sasson Tiram, the Jewish Agency for Israel)

Since the attack, the Jewish Agency has provided ongoing assistance to the Sandler and Monsonego families and has helped the students and teachers of Ohr Torah school to recover from the attack. In March 2012, four members of the Jewish community of Toulouse were murdered in a terror attack at the Ohr Torah School (formerly Otzar Hatorah): Rabbi Jonathan Sandler (29), a teacher at the school; his two sons, Arieh (6) and Gabriel (3.5); and Miriam Hanna (8), daughter of the principal of the school, Rabbi Yaakov Monsonego.

Rabbi Sandler’s parents, Samuel and Miriam Sandler are visiting Israel to attend the one year memorial service which took place last Thursday in Beit Vegan, Jerusalem. Sandler’s aunt, Leah Marcu also took part in the meeting. During the meeting, Chairperson of the Jewish agency, Natan Sharansky told the family that “The dignity with which your family has faced this awful tragedy has given great strength to Jews around the world and deserves great appreciation from all of us.”

Sharansky updated the family that, in response to the tragedy, the Jewish Agency had established a fund to help upgrade security in small Jewish communities, which has already provided assistance to over 20 Jewish communities around the world. Sharansky added that “We cannot bring back your family, but we must learn a serious lesson from the attack.”

Samuel Sandler noted that the family were upset by the nature of the coverage of the tragedy in the French media, which focused on the difficulties the killer faced in his youth and largely ignored the victims: “At the time of the event till today, I am shocked that the French press has dealt largely with the killer and ‘how hard he had it’. No attention was given to the families of the victims and the victim’s names were frequently not mentioned.” He added that, despite the media focus, the family had felt the support of many French individuals and organizations, who had contacted them to offer support.

Natan Sharansky emphasized that “While in France, the focus was on the killer, in Israel you are a part of our family and we feel a strong bond. Thank you for standing strong”. He added that in the last year there has been a serious increase in violent incidents against Jews in France, a trend which has been recognized by the French government.

Miriam Sandler told Natan Sharansky about the family’s efforts to perpetuate the memory of their son and grandchildren which include the publication of a book of their son’s writings on the weekly Torah Portion, the establishment of Beit Sandler, a synagogue in Kiryat Hayovel, Jerusalem and the planned construction of a kindergarten, also in Kiryat Hayovel. Miriam Sandler said that “After visiting the graves of my son and grandchildren on Friday, it is very hard for me to leave Jerusalem.”

The Jewish Agency is funded by the United Israel Appeal. The Jewish Agency is the official fund-raiser for the State of Israel.

Your UIA at work….


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