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Nachum Segal to Host Chanukah Concert in Paris

On December 9, the fourth night of Chanukah, radio host Nachum Segal and his team from the Nachum Segal Network will present “Let There Be Light: The Concert of Jewish Unity,” in Paris.

The program, which will be broadcast live from the Grande Synagogue de la Victoire, the Grand Synagogue of Paris, beginning at 2 p.m. EST (8 p.m. Paris time), will feature Yehoram Gaon, Ohad Moskowitz, Uziah Tzadok and other performers. Segal will also be joined by Jewish community leaders from Europe, Israel and the United States. Viewers in the U.S. can enjoy a livestream of the concert on the Nachum Segal Network.

The Grande Synagogue, France’s largest Jewish house of worship, was opened to the public in 1875. A classical-style building embellished with Byzantine frills, the shul, which follows the Ashkenazi-Alsatian tradition, can seat more than 1,800 worshippers. It is known for its series of 12 stained-glass windows symbolizing the Tribes of Israel.

The concert’s purpose is “to celebrate the French-Jewish community and to honor all Jewish communities throughout the world. We commend the courage of the Parisians and we support all those who stand proud and defiant in the face of terrorism,” said Segal in a telephone interview from Paris, where he was at the end of November for a concert rehearsal.

The concert had been planned long before the November 13 terror attacks in Paris, and was originally designed to mark the first yahrzeit of the victims of the January 9, 2015, attack on the Hypercacher kosher supermarket in Porte de Vincennes, in the 20th arrondissement of the city. The kosher market was attacked two days after the same band of ISIS-affiliated terrorists murdered 11 people and wounded 11 others in the offices of the French satirical weekly newspaper, Charlie Hebdo.

Those murdered in Hypercacher were Yohan Cohen, 22; Yoav Hattab, 21; Philippe Braham, 45; and François-Michel Saada, 64. Each of the four victims has been recognized as a hero for their efforts to overcome the gunman, Amedy Coulibaly, who held more than a dozen Jewish employees and shoppers, including at least one with a young child, on that Friday afternoon before Shabbat.

Survivor Lassana Bathily, a Malian-born Muslim who had immigrated to France in 2006 and served as a shop assistant in Hypercacher, was also hailed as a hero in the hostage crisis. He led 15 shoppers and fellow employees into a downstairs cold storage room, hiding them from the gunman. Bathily then escaped in order to alert police and assist them in freeing the hostages.

The four Jewish victims were posthumously awarded the Legion of Honor by France and then buried at the Givat Shaul cemetery in Jerusalem in a funeral attended by thousands of mourners.

Although the yahrzeit for Cohen, Hattab, Braham and Saada is on Tevet 18 (December 30 this year), Segal decided to hold the concert in their honor three weeks earlier so as to coincide with Chanukah.

After the November 13 attacks, Segal felt an increased sense of urgency to hold the concert.

“We were expecting a pushback on our desire to hold the concert, but instead we found encouragement and moved full-steam ahead,” he said. “European Jews and, now, even more, Parisians, have been the subjects of countless attacks many times over the past few years. Our concert is going to help spread the message of solidarity and will help create, foster and sustain an atmosphere of community to strengthen the common bonds with the global Jewish community.”

“Our goal is to celebrate Jewish life wherever it is. We need to focus our attention on letting Jews in Paris know that we care, that, with all the tsuris, we are one. In challenging times, Jews throughout the world need our support,” he said.

The concert, which is open to the entire community, will be offered to the French-Jewish community without charge. Jews around the world can watch the concert at http://www.nachumsegal.com/nachum-segal-stream/.

“It is our gift to the Jews of France,” said Segal.

Susan Rosenbluth is the publisher and founder of
TheJewishVoiceAndOpinion.com

By Susan L. Rosenbluth, TheJewishVoiceAndOpinion.com

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