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Rav Shteinman and Rav Chaim helped save small cemeteries

The French government's decision to endanger small cemeteries in Algeria; Only rabbis in general mobilization brought a happy ending to the story
Eli Yakobi, ח' תשרי תשע"ז 10/10/2016 22:18

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After a worldwide operation, the decision fell - Kvarim of small cemeteries in Algeria will not be touched.

It all started with the ruling of the French government that took care of cemeteries scattered in Algeria for over 60 years in the colony where they ruled a hundred years ago. They preferred to stop and concentrate the graves in larger cemeteries.

The Jewish community had agreed immediately. And here the story began - Can graves be moved to help government lower expenses? It is clear beyond any doubt that. Besides, an unfortunate mistake occurred, there were small cemeteries, with seven graves. Should a large cemetery be purchased fo just a few Jews? There was no doubt. Over the years, as happens in the world - neighbors stole gravestones and used them for construction. In the cemetery with seven tombstones, there are probably another 93 bodies buried in the ground.

The local Jewish community decided to fight. Over time, others helped, such as Reb Yitzhak Shapira and the Committee of Rabbi Elyakim Schlesinger London. In a letter, they published A Psak of the great rabbis of Europe who vigorously opposed any such permit.

All this time, Rabbi Korsia, the chief rabbi of France, stood by prohibiting, against the Prime Consistory. He explained his view in an interview in the most prominent Jewish newspaper in France a few weeks ago.

The decision came after the publication of the personal letter of Rav Shteinman to the president of France, where he requested that France continues to maintain the integrity of these cemeteries. Then, even Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky issued a letter in the same spirit.

Since the affair took place all over the world, the Jewish Consistory announced he was giving rabbis outside France the right to decide. Immediately after this statement, Rabbi Hanoch Ehrentreu sent a letter to the Chief Rabbi of France, noting that there may be no elimination of any cemetery in the world.

The graves activists point out that they "are pleased to announce that supposedly we succeeded, and the graves of thousands of Jews buried in Algeria were saved from severe destruction," in pursuance of rabbis mobilization.

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