New Chief Rabbi Appointed in France

Gilles Bernheim, the rabbi of Paris’s largest synagogue, defeated incumbent Joseph Sitruk to become France’s new chief rabbi in a hotly contested election decided June 22.

Image: Getty Images

Masters of Sex: Lizzy Caplan as Virginia Johnson in new Showtime series.

Image: Showtime

Masters of Sex: Lizzy Caplan as Virginia Johnson in new Showtime series.

Image: Courtesy of Yoav Gal

Image: Getty Images

Image: Getty Images

Image: Lily Padula

Image: Thea Glassman

Image: Thea Glassman

Home Hospitality: Hikers on Abraham Path join a host family for lunch in Aqraba, in the Nablus area of the West Bank.

Image: Courtesy of Abraham Path

Home Hospitality: Hikers on Abraham Path join a host family for lunch in Aqraba, in the Nablus area of the West Bank.

Breathtaking Vista:_ Hikers take in the view of the town of Sanur from the ascent to Mount Hureish in the West Bank._

Image: Courtesy of Abraham Path

Breathtaking Vista:_ Hikers take in the view of the town of Sanur from the ascent to Mount Hureish in the West Bank._

Our Routes:_ The hiking path wends its way through the villages of the West Bank._

Image: Courtesy of Abraham Path/Adapted by Forward

Our Routes:_ The hiking path wends its way through the villages of the West Bank._

Image: Shearith Israel/Instragram

Truths and Contradictions: A rabbi lifts the Torah to show it to his congregation

Image: Getty Images

Truths and Contradictions: A rabbi lifts the Torah to show it to his congregation

Living Treasure: Born in Tacoma, artist Dale Chihuly was named a “national living treasure” by George H.W. Bush.

Image: Getty Images

Living Treasure: Born in Tacoma, artist Dale Chihuly was named a “national living treasure” by George H.W. Bush.

Image: Anya Ulinich

Self Portrait? Photographs by French-Moroccan artist Mehdi-Georges Lahlou are among the museum’s most provocative.

Image: Mehdi-Georges Lahlou

Self Portrait? Photographs by French-Moroccan artist Mehdi-Georges Lahlou are among the museum’s most provocative.

Favorite tactic: SJP's mock eviction fliers seek to shake up students with an experience they say many Palestinians confront.

Favorite tactic: SJP's mock eviction fliers seek to shake up students with an experience they say many Palestinians confront.

First Responders: Pro-Israel students at the University of Oregon demonstrate their solidarity with the state in response to anti-Israel protests on campus in November 2012. The protests were prompted by Israel military actions in Gaza at the time meant to hit Hamas.

Image: Oregon Hillel Foundatin

First Responders: Pro-Israel students at the University of Oregon demonstrate their solidarity with the state in response to anti-Israel protests on campus in November 2012. The protests were prompted by Israel military actions in Gaza at the time meant to hit Hamas.

Inescapable: An SJP 'apartheid wall' on the University of California's Berkeley campus hits students directly with its message critical of Israel.

Image: David McCleary

Inescapable: An SJP 'apartheid wall' on the University of California's Berkeley campus hits students directly with its message critical of Israel.

Image: martyna starosta

Image: getty images

Bernheim, a 56-year-old philosopher and proponent of a more modern Orthodoxy, will take over from Sitruk, 63, a popular figure who held the position since 1987. Bernheim garnered a clear majority, 184-99, to win the seven-year mandate, which will begin in January 2009. In addition to overseeing the training of rabbis and relations with other faiths, Bernheim has been immediately confronted with France’s realities: A Jewish youth was beaten up in a Paris neighborhood, an incident that Bernheim condemned as antisemitic. Mohammed Moussaoui, who was just elected head of France’s Representative Muslim Council, joined him in his condemnation.

In interviews in the French media, both leaders called for a new openness, with Bernheim stressing the need to reach out to those outside the Jewish faith — a position some of his opponents had tried to use against him during the campaign.

Written by

Marc Perelman

Recommend this article

New Chief Rabbi Appointed in France

Thank you!

This article has been sent!

Close