The national campaign calling for Tzedakah saw the presence of over 4,000 people from the Alpes maritimes Jewish community, on Sunday November 24, at the Victorine studios in Nice, with the exceptional presence of one of its former godfather, Stéphane Freiss.
A day under the sign of Solidarity. Many volunteers had responded present to safely ensure the smooth functioning of the day, treat the hungriest to kosher Jewish specialties, host game booths for children or one of the different associations of Unified Jewish Social Fund, which includes 254 active associations.
The festival began at 12 by a large singing contest for children, with Tséda’Voice, then continued with a puppet show by Marionnettes du Soleil for the smallest and laughter with comedian Ophir. As for musical entertainment, the orchestra Siriel set fire to the hall, the audience was thrilled and danced late into the night to the sound of hot rhythms.
Commitment of Nice
Many personalities came to greet the Jewish community of the region. Firstly, Charles Ghenassia, the event godfather and Tzedakah Regional President, Savior Assous, Regional President of the United Jewish Social Fund, who paid tribute to the whole team of the Nice Côte d Azur Committee of Jewish Social Action throughout the year to help families and elderly people in difficulty.
Then arrived Deputy-Mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, who came to greet the congregation. After visiting the booths and warm handshakes, he gave a speech before representatives of various Jewish communities of Nice, as well as members of the Regional Council including Mr Eric Ciotti, MP and President of the General Council, accompanied by his Vice-President, Mr Patrick Allemand.
Christian Estrosi recalled the commitment of the city to the Jewish community when the photo of the prisoner Gilad Shalit, a Franco-Israeli soldier detained in Gaza for 5 years, remained set in front of the Nice City Hall in a sign of support with the Jewish state; the inauguration of Boulevard Simone Veil in Nice West, a tribute to one whose life-long course of courage and humanity were able to prevail over the tragedy and remembrance.
He also referred to the Yitzhak Rabin driveway, the Israeli prime minister, promoter of the peace process between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) at the level of the new Coulée Verte; the college Simon Wiesenthal (historian and Nazi hunter); the Wall of the Righteous, located in the alley adjacent to the memorial with the names of nearly 3,400 men and women who, at great risk to their lives, contributed to rescuing Jews in France during World War II.
International community vigilance
He also called to fight against Iran, which now is the greatest threat to the existence of the state of Israel since its inception in 1948. He calls the international community to be vigilant on the charm offensive of new Iranian President Hassan Rohani who wants to continue at all costs its uranium enrichment program to build a nuclear bomb, with criminal intents against the Hebrew state. He said solemnly: “If you touch a hair of a Jew, you touch the France, Europe and the whole humanity.”
He also welcomed to attend, place Massena, the celebration of the Jewish feast of Hanukkah candle lighting, also called the Festival of Lights. Finally, he expressed his admiration for Israel, this small country that has distinguished itself through innovations of all kinds, through hard work, inventiveness and creativity. For him, Israel is fisrt of all an oasis of democracy and progress in a desert of dictatorships and brutality.
Trips of the memory
For his part, Mr. Eric Ciotti recalled the involvement of the General Council which is organizing annual “trips of the memory” to Auschwitz and Birkenau sites in Poland to educate younger generations about the horrors committed by the Nazis. He also protested against the decision of Europe wanting to ban circumcision: “A tradition dating back thousands of years and which is a fundamental part of Judaism and an obligations as Jews.” In this sense, it seems inconceivable that this religious act be banned in the name of a ridiculous decree saying to want to keep the integrity of the human being.
At last, to fight racism in all its forms was Patrick Allemand’s watchword. He also reminded the installation of commemorative plaques in Lycée Calmette and Jean Mounier Nice: a will of the Regional Council to remind to what end can lead intolerance, racism and antisemitism.
The National Call for Tzedakah in 2012 brought together more than € 2.8 million on the entire territory, out of which 140,000 euros raised in the Alpes-Maritimes.
Tzedakah is supposed to answer all the needs of man in a precarious situation: material but also spiritual, existential needs. Aid to education is also included in the Maasser. The command to give applies to all, even the poor who need Tzedakah to live must also in turn give Tzedakah to poorer than himself.
Like a Misa, it is a Torah obligation to provide for needy Jews, as it is written: “You shall surely open your hand to him.”
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