Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Charedi World

6 Nisan 5759 - March 24, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly







Jewish Paris in the Springtime

by Arnon Yoffe, Yated Paris Correspondent

In the Jewish quarters of Paris, a warm erev Yom Tov ambience can currently be felt, as long lines are queuing up in front of the kosher lePesach food stores. Streets on the Pletzel and in the 19th quarter and the Rue Rishe are buzzing with shoppers. Stands are overflowing with kosher food products, from Israeli, French and British manufacturers. In the suburbs, the large French food chains have expanded their kosher lePesach stalls as they have discovered the religious consumer, and they have hired religious Jews to manage these stalls. In addition, Jewish chains, such as that of Nehorai, have also developed.

The number of French Jews eating matzos during Pesach is increasing each year. A survey taken a number of years ago which determined that 57% of France's Jews eat only matzos on Pesach is already out-of-date. The demand for stringent kashrus supervision as well as the burgeoning sales figures show that not only has the percentage risen, but so has the demand for quality kashrus.

This year, the chareidi communities imported handmade shemura matzos from Israel well in advance of the holiday, and many more Jews are demanding handmade matzos. Instead of the Strassbourg machine matzos of former years, consumers now have a choice between hand matzos of Shearis Yisroel and hand matzos of Vishnitz, which are being sold in the Agudas Hakehillos of HaRav Mordechai Rottenberg.

In the Parisian bnei Torah community of Kahal Yerei'im, Shearis Yisroel shemura matzos baked in Yad Binyomin are being distributed. The head kashrus supervisor of the community, Rabbi Moshe Nevatt, made a special trip to Eretz Yisroel in order to bake matzos for his community at Yad Binyomin. These matzos are also sold in the Mekor Yisroel Yeshiva.

HaRav Mordechai Gross, while on a recent visit to Yeshivas Yad Mordechai, inspected the supervision on the shechita, the kitchen and the bakery of Kahal Yerei'im, and proclaimed it excellent. The influence of the yeshiva is evident in that the thirst for Torah, and the aspiration to acquire middos tovos and yiras Shomayim has greatly increased. Many Jew of the community, however, are still distant from Torah.

Jews seek ruchniyuson Pesach, along with kosher lePesach gashmiyus. Sifrei kodesh stores are bustling with people in search of Haggados in Hebrew and in French, as well as for books on halocho and Jewish thought. Even Jews who are not yet observant come to purchase Haggados. There is much competition among French publishers in the production of Haggados, books of Jewish interest and translations of traditional Jewish sources.

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