Kaddish in France
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Kaddish in France

Subject: Fwd: הגורל היהודי המתעתע

There used to be a joke in Paris. What is the difference between the
Chief Rabbi in France and the Cardinal of Paris? “The Cardinal speaks
Yiddish!”

Cardinal Jean Marie Lustiger was buried yesterday. He died this week
of cancer. He was born almost 81 years ago to Polish parents who ran a
dress shop in Paris. When the German army marched into their city, his
parents sent him and his sister into hiding with a Catholic family in
Orleans. Their mother was captured and sent to Auschwitz.
In 1999 as Cardinal of Paris, Jean Marie Lustiger took part in reading
of the names of France’s day of remembrance of Jews who had been
deported and murdered. He came to the name of Gesele Lustiger, paused,
teared up and said, “My Mama!” The effect in France during a time of
revived anti-Semitism was electric.

He was just 13 and in hiding when he converted to Catholicism, not to
escape the Nazis he always said, because no Jew could escape by
conversion, and not of trauma, he said. Among his most controversial
observation:
I was born Jewish and so I remain, even if that is unacceptable for many.
For me, the vocation of Israel is bringing light to the goyem.
That is my hope and I believe that Christianity is the means for achieving it.
There were a great number of Rabbi’s who consider his conversion a
betrayal, especially after so many European Jews so narrowly escaped
extinction. Cardinal Lustiger replied, “To say that I am no longer a
Jew is like denying
my father and mother, my grandfathers and grandmothers. I am as Jewish
as all other members of my family that were butchered in Auschwitz and
other camps.”

He confessed to a biographer that he had a spiritual crisis in the
1970’s provoked by persistent anti-Semitism in France. He studied
Hebrew and considered emigrating. He said, “I thought that I had
finished what I had to do here and I might find new meaning in
Israel.” But just at that time the Pope appointed him bishop of
Orleans.
He found purpose in the plight of immigrant workers. Then he was
elevated Cardinal, the Archbishop of Paris.

Jean Marie Lustiger was close to the Pope. They shared a doctrinal
conservatism. He also battled bigotry and totalitarianism. For years,
Cardinal Lustiger’s name was among those who was considered to succeed
John
Paul. Without putting himself forth, the Cardinal joked that few
things would bedevil bigots more that a Jewish Pope. “They don’t like
to admit it, but what Christians believe, they got through Jews.”

The funeral for Cardinal Lustiger began at Notre Dame Cathedral
yesterday with the chanting of Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the
dead.

Sometimes there are profound inconsistencies in our world…

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