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Paris Jews Picket Jerusalem Chief Rabbi Over Hate-Filled Remarks

(JTA) — In a move that underlined growing divisions among French Jews, several dozen attended a demonstration protesting communal leaders’ welcoming of a deeply conservative rabbi from Israel.

Approximately 40 Jewish protesters, some of them affiliated with Liberal congregations, showed up at the rally last week outside the Buffault synagogue in Paris ahead of the arrival there of Shlomo Amar, an Orthodox chief rabbi of Jerusalem, with signs protesting what they said were misogynist and divisive statements he had made.

Amar has visited the French capital many times before. His visit Tuesday was the first time that he was met by Jewish protesters, according to the La Croix daily.

Amar equated Reform Jews with Holocaust deniers in an address concerning demands by followers of Liberal Judaism for changes in the rules of worship at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

Amar has also called homosexuals “crazies” and “obscene people,” and has said that women are made to care for children and provide for their families so that men may become “great sages” in studying the Torah.

“These words ostracize a significant part of the Jewish people,” Michael Amsellem, one of the protest’s organizers, wrote in a statement. Yet, he noted, Amar was “invited for a lecture titled ‘Unity and the Month of Elul.’”

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