As I write this, I am somewhere over the Atlantic, on my way back to New York after two intense and remarkable weeks exploring the Jewish communities of France and Israel with the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. I am a member of the Conference because I am the sitting President of the Rabbinical Assembly, the professional organization of Conservative rabbis.
Even upon landing in Paris, en route to Toulouse, it was clear that a grave thing has happened. I could see an armed soldier every few meters. When I got off the El Al plane from Israel a heavy feeling connected me immediately to the reality not only of what happened — the murder of a teacher and three children at the Ozar Hatorah School by a terrorist — but also to our being vulnerable.
It was a simple idea, really: a tear-off sheet, like the ones you always see advertising “Guitar Lessons” or “Housecleaning Services.” Instead, I was going to offer “Free Smiles.” I saw a posting for something similar on the new social media site, Pinterest, and I decided to make one of my own.
Thousands attended the funeral in Jerusalem of the four victims of the attack on a Jewish school in Toulouse, as French police surrounded the home of their prime suspect.
French police early Wednesday morning raided the Toulouse home of a 24-year-old French national of Algerian descent. The man reportedly has links to Al-Qaida and has been known to French intelligence for many years.
Four people - a teacher and three students, including a 3-year-old – reportedly were shot dead outside a Jewish school in Toulouse, France.
A man riding a motorbike reportedly opened fire outside the Ozar Hatorah School, where students were waiting to enter the building at the start of the school day. The shooter then entered the building shooting at students and teachers. He then fled on his motorbike.
Several students also were injured inside the building, according to reports. The dead adult is reported to be the rabbi of the school, according to Haaretz.