French City of Metz Irks Some WIth Jewish Holiday Street Closing

4,000 Jews in Northern Town

By JTA

Published September 08, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The French city of Metz closed a street to vehicular traffic for the High Holidays season, provoking angry reactions from some Muslims.

Rabbin Bloch Street was closed on the afternoon of Sept. 6, the second day of Rosh Hashanah, and will reopen at the close of Yom Kippur, the night of Sept. 14, according to the website of TCRM, the public transport company of the Messine region.

The website cited “the Jewish holidays” for closing the street, which has several Jewish institutions located there.

Metz, which is some 40 miles northwest of Strasbourg in eastern France, had a Jewish population of approximately 4,000 in 1987, according to the Encyclopedia Judaica. The Jewish community established itself in the city in the 16th century.

Some Muslims said the street closure reflected a double standard in the attitude of French authorities to Jewish and Muslim sensibilities in applying separation of church and state.

One of France’s leading Muslim news sites, islametinfo.fr, published an editorial on Friday saying that although “it is normal for residents to respect the wishes of others in special moments,” the closure at Metz “begs comparison” with a ban imposed in 2011 on street prayers by Muslims in Paris.

The street prayers at Barbes were the result of overcrowded conditions at the local mosque.

Marine Le Pen, leader of the ultranationalist Front National, compared the prayers to “the occupation” — a reference to the Nazi occupation of France.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • Why did David Menachem Gordon join the IDF? In his own words: "The Israel Defense Forces is an army that fights for her nation’s survival and the absence of its warriors equals destruction from numerous regional foes. America is not quite under the threat of total annihilation… Simply put, I felt I was needed more in Israel than in the United States."
  • Leonard Fein's most enduring legacy may be his rejection of dualism: the idea that Jews must choose between assertiveness and compassion, between tribalism and universalism. Steven M. Cohen remembers a great Jewish progressive:
  • BREAKING: Missing lone soldier David Menachem Gordon has been found dead in central Israel. The Ohio native was 21 years old.
  • “They think they can slap on an Amish hat and a long black robe, and they’ve created a Hasid." What do you think of Hollywood's portrayal of Hasidic Jews?
  • “I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager. I didn’t think I would have to do it when I was 90.” Hedy Epstein fled Nazi Germany in 1933 on a Kinderstransport.
  • "A few decades ago, it would have been easy to add Jews to that list of disempowered victims. I could throw in Leo Frank, the victim of mob justice; or otherwise privileged Jewish men denied entrance to elite universities. These days, however, we have to search a lot harder." Are you worried about what's going in on #Ferguson?
  • Will you accept the challenge?
  • In the six years since Dothan launched its relocation program, 8 families have made the jump — but will they stay? We went there to find out:
  • "Jewish Israelis and West Bank Palestinians are witnessing — and living — two very different wars." Naomi Zeveloff's first on-the-ground dispatch from Israel:
  • This deserves a whistle: Lauren Bacall's stylish wardrobe is getting its own museum exhibit at Fashion Institute of Technology.
  • How do you make people laugh when they're fighting on the front lines or ducking bombs?
  • "Hamas and others have dredged up passages form the Quran that demonize Jews horribly. Some imams rail about international Jewish conspiracies. But they’d have a much smaller audience for their ravings if Israel could find a way to lower the flames in the conflict." Do you agree with J.J. Goldberg?
  • How did Tariq Abu Khdeir go from fun-loving Palestinian-American teen to international icon in just a few short weeks? http://jd.fo/d4kkV
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.