Macron inaugurates £13m Paris community centre as ‘resistance’ to antisemitism

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Macron inaugurates £13m Paris community centre as ‘resistance’ to antisemitism

French President joined by leaders of the country's community as he helped open the new building which has been 20-years in the works

Screenshot from Twitter video of Macron inaugurating the new Jewish centre in Paris
Screenshot from Twitter video of Macron inaugurating the new Jewish centre in Paris

French President Emmanuel Macron and leaders of the country’s Jewish community inaugurated a £13.2m  ($17 million) Jewish community centre  in Paris that has been in the works for 20 years.

The European Centre for Judaism was opened on Tuesday, “amid painful times of terrorism and antisemitism,” said Joel Mergui, the president of the Consistoire organisation, which is responsible for religious Orthodox life in France.

It’s an expression of resistance, a desire to reanimate our community, for it to shine and open to the neighbourhood, Paris and Europe,” Mergui added.

Situated on Jerusalem Square in the affluent and heavily-Jewish 17th arrondissement of the French capital, the new centre has about 54,000 square feet of floor space, including a synagogue with 600 seats and an auditorium with a black marble interior and the same number of seats, among other amenities. The centre also includes a gym, offices and a large terrace to accommodate a sukkah.

At least 37,000 of approximately 173,000 people living in the arrondissement, or district, are Jewish, according to the district’s mayor, Geoffroy Boulard.

About a third of the new centre’s cost came from private donations, Le Parisien reported. The rest came from municipal and government subsidies and sponsorships by firms and nonprofit groups.

The City of Paris agreed to give the expensive piece of land to the Jewish community for the project more than 20 years ago. Construction began in 2015 and had initially been scheduled to end by 2018. Construction workers rushed to apply the finishing touches hours before the opening.

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