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New Chief Rabbi Appointed in France

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.

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Image: Getty Images

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Image: Bruce Shaffer

Image: Bruce Shaffer

Image: Bruce Shaffer

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Image: Liza Schoenfein

Image: Liza Schoenfein

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Fantastic Four: The couples at their wedding reception in April 2015.

Image: Rukhl Schaechter

Fantastic Four: The couples at their wedding reception in April 2015.

Image: Courtesy of the Choikhit Family

A Halachic Exception: The grooms break glass at Brittany and Ashley Choikhit's double wedding in Kansas City, Missouri.

Image: Blixt Photography by Kyndall Durkee

A Halachic Exception: The grooms break glass at Brittany and Ashley Choikhit's double wedding in Kansas City, Missouri.

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Doing His Job: Reporter James Rosen was name an un-indicted co-conspirator.

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Doing His Job: Reporter James Rosen was name an un-indicted co-conspirator.

For the Defense: Abbe Lowell (right) accompanies ex-AIPAC official Steven Rosen from the courtroom in 2005.

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For the Defense: Abbe Lowell (right) accompanies ex-AIPAC official Steven Rosen from the courtroom in 2005.

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Remembering: A new monument to so-called righteous gentiles will rise near the museum of Jewish history in Warsaw.

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Remembering: A new monument to so-called righteous gentiles will rise near the museum of Jewish history in Warsaw.

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Madame No Name: Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Front party hasn?t received much attention on her trip to the U.S.

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Madame No Name: Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Front party hasn?t received much attention on her trip to the U.S.

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

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