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[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”993300″ class=”” size=”16″]The Consistory remains the official representative institution of the Jewish religion in France, in particular with the political authorities and that is why it was founded. The Consistory is not a religious institution but a “cultic” one in accordance with the law of December 9, 1905. Its mission is to represent and defend the interests of French Judaism! Which means that it is managed by a large secular majority to represent all the Jews of France.  Such was and remains the will of the State! .[/perfectpullquote]

Richard C. ABITBOL President

Today, in a few hours, you will vote to elect 14 of the 26 administrators of the Consistory of Paris who will have to manage the Consistory for the next eight years, and to constitute the new direction of the said consistory for the next four years.

At a time when things are changing so quickly for both our country and our community, it is a considerable responsibility that falls to both future elected officials and voters.

At the beginning of the XNUMXst century, our community is facing many challenges and our generation must meet them!

The Consistory is the main Jewish institution that has allowed the development of French Judaism for more than two centuries in the preservation of its ancestral and universal message.

The Israelite Central Consistory of France is an institution created in 1808 by Napoleon I to administer Israelite worship in France, on the model of the two other official religions of the time (Catholic and Protestant). He appoints the chief rabbi of France.

The Consistory remains the official representative institution of the Jewish religion in France, especially with the political authorities! This is how and for this it was founded.

The Consistory manages the synagogues, the kashrut, the hevra kadicha, and all the major events of Jewish life (b'rith mila, bar and bath mitzva, talmud tora, marriages, conversations, deaths, etc.); thus it is the only institution which manages the daily life of the community in our country.

We must therefore defend this noble institution and provide as much assistance as possible to help it adapt and develop.

This is our ambition.

Each of us has friends in each of the lists that come up.

Each of us is a member of one or more community associations, many of us are responsible for community and non-community associations, many of us have responsibilities in the civil world, but we all have in common the desire for the well-being of our community without personal interests interfering with this desire.

This is why we decided to intervene, not to give voting instructions, but to take note of the newly elected, and give our vision of the future for this beautiful institution.

This Future begins today with the elections of November 26th. But this reflection will not stop the day after the elections, far from it.

We want to make proposals, and we will do so throughout the next few years because they will be crucial for our future. We will always do so with the sole ambition of reconciling our loyalty both to our values ​​and to the precepts of our ancestors, and this, while remaining clear-sighted about the need for our necessary adaptation to a new and modern world.

Our world has evolved more in the past sixty years than in previous centuries.

Also, our reflection must lead us to think about what our community will be like in 20 or 50 years, to think about the environment in which it will evolve, and above all to ensure that we can, once again, say "Happy as a Jew in France!”.

In this electoral period, we regret that the various candidates weaken the Consistory by personal and sordid attacks without really presenting a coherent program. we need not a program made up of wishful thinking, not a program made up of naive wishes, but a concrete program with clear and measurable objectives, and above all budgeted .

Elections are made, of course, to appoint elected officials, but not only; elections are also made to present alternative visions of the future and offer a range of choices to voters. Unfortunately, such was not the case during these elections, and we were entitled to no harmonious debate between the candidates and especially, often, to a lack of respect towards the candidates, and between the candidates.

It would have been very important for everyone to be able to present their point of view, to debate it so that the voters could choose in the greatest serenity.

We weren't that lucky!

The simple answer to a complicated question does not exist, this is what the Talmud teaches us; but we know that from the debate springs light.

For our part, we believe that it is high time to develop the Presbytery in the well-understood interest of the Presbyteries, and of the Central as a whole.

The time has therefore come to rethink the functioning of the Consistory and to revise its statutes, but  in the sole interest of our community and above all not with the aim of restricting the electorate but rather by thinking about how to expand it.

The duty of each of us is to strengthen the weight and image of the Consistory both with our co-religionists and with the public authorities. It is also the duty of all administrators !

It is good to remember that, contrary to a misconception, the Consistory is not a religious institution but “cultual” in accordance with the law of December 9, 1905. This means that it is managed by a large secular majority. Such was and remains the will of the state!

The purpose of the Consistory is to provide for the general interests of the Jewish religion, to preserve the independence and dignity of ministers of religion, to ensure the permanence of the office of Chief Rabbi of France, to promote the recruitment of ministers of religion and to ensure their administration, to promote the knowledge and transmission of Judaism, but above all to represent and defend the interests of French Judaism as well as to preserve its spiritual ties with Israel and the Jewish Communities of the World.

Thus “when French Judaism is under the constant fire of the questioning of its practices: Kashrus, circumcision, marriage rules, judicialization of “assisted suicide”, etc.”, it is up to the Consistory to act to defend French Judaism and its values, in particular, with the political authorities.

The only political component acceptable to “cult” communities, Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist or others, is this one!

Those who would like the Consistory to detach themselves from these responsibilities are mistaken!

Yes, it is normal for the Consistory to debate with the political authorities only political subjects that are specific to it and only those: kosher, circumcision, burials, marriages,...

For all other subjects, the French Jews have, in the Republic, the same concern as all the other citizens of the Republic with all the diversity that this represents!

It is not by weakening or denigrating the Consistory for the benefit of other institutions that we will meet this challenge!

The Consistory, which is a Jewish and republican institution, installed by the State more than two centuries ago, remains by far the most "representative" institution of our community with its tens of thousands of members, the management of several hundred synagogues and the organization of the daily life of our communities (administration of ministers of worship, kashrut, circumcisions, marriages, burials, talmud torah,…)!

Since its creation, the Consistory has remained the interlocutor of the authorities and the representative of French Judaism. 

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”993300″ class=”” size=””]This is why it is extremely important that the Consistory welcomes all the components of French Judaism into its midst! This is an essential reform for our future![/perfectpullquote]

And, finally, we must not, in any way, confuse the Consistory, secular authority, and the Chief Rabbinate, religious authority!

Yes, this is the basis of major reforms for the years to come!

And, to think about it effectively, we need to prepare today for the 2021 elections with major debates that will span the next four years. This is the only useful way to prepare the Consistory of tomorrow!

A Consistory which will represent all the Jews of France and thus it will return to the initial objective given to this very large institution, the only truly representative of the great majority of the Jews of France even if for the moment it refuses to represent them all.

As on many other subjects (anti-Semitism, secularism,…) we will be present to reflect and build with you the Consistory of tomorrow!

The real meeting is therefore in 4 years but this campaign must start today and the duty of everyone, and especially the Jewish media, is to participate!

So vote!

Vote conscientiously today with this great purpose in mind! And this for the best of our great institution!


Richard C. ABITBOL


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