An announcement appearing in Yated Ne'eman attracted
our attention. The announcement, inserted by the chareidi
community of Marseilles, invited Israeli French-speaking
avreichim to join and strengthen their
Leaders of the Marseilles Jewish community inform us that
plans for the kollel are well under way. The kollel
is to be directed by an Israeli talmid chochom,
HaRav Eliezer Klein. The kollel is planned to open in
Elul, and the community hopes that it will become a beacon of
Torah for the entire community.
The Jewish community of France has known periods of
greatness, beginning with Rashi, Rabbenu Tam, and up until
our times, when it merited the presence of HaRav Chaim
Yitzchok Chaiken and HaRav Gershon Leibman.
In 5720, the Jewish community began to expand significantly.
A major wave of Jewish immigrants arrived from the North
African countries of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. Many of
these Jews, choosing to immigrate to France rather than to
Israel, began to lose the ties to Yiddishkeit that
were associated by them with their country of origin.
Assimilation began at a very rapid rate. It appeared that the
majority of these Jews would be lost to the Jewish people.
In 5723, Maran the Steipler Gaon charged HaRav Yaakov Cohen
with the sacred task of establishing a network of Torah
institutions and kollelim in France. At first these
were in Strasbourg, but gradually they were transferred to
Marseilles, a city in southern France. After a few years, the
kollel founded a significant network of Torah and
Today they are called, collectively, the Ma'ayenei HaTorah
Institutions, and children go there to learn and to grow with
yiras Shomayim. There are at least two hundred
students in the boys schools, and a similar number of
students attend the girlsıschools.
Marseilles boasts a number of fine Torah communities, a
yeshiva ketana, a seminary for girls, two yeshivos for
ba'alei teshuvah, and a chareidi school. A beis
din, led by a well known dayan from Eretz Yisroel,
was recently founded in Marseilles, and the city is on its
way to becoming France's spiritual center.