Conversation with Rav David Moha
Tell us about the Jewish community of Seine-sur-Mer
It all started in a village near the city of Oran in Algeria. At the end of the war in Algeria in 1962, France withdrew and the Jews had to flee the country to Marseille. Later, for work reasons, we moved to Seine-sur-Mer, near Toulon. My father worked in the French navy, whose main base is in the port of Toulon. Along with his work, he provided kosher food to Jewish sailors. Every Shabbat he went on foot to Toulon, seven kilometers from the Seine-sur-Mer. To form the Jewish community, he simply took the phone book, listing all the Jewish names. The first gathering was held during the Mimouna at the end of the festival of Pessach in 1977. For a few years, we gathered at Yom Kippur, then during Shabbats. At the beginning, there were 150 families who have grown to 350 today.
We took the initiative in the region to organize big parties with speakers from Israel, among others – the commander of the Exodus and IDF generals. At that time we mobilized 5,000,000 francs for the Jewish state, a considerable sum for our community.
Five special features of the Jewish community of Seine-sur-Mer
- Ahavat Israel – love for all Jews
- We do not speak lashon hara, no gossip. Rather than talking about people, we prefer to deal with other topics.
- We have always had very special relations with the mayor. “My house is your house,” he told me. This is true with one exception, when the Communist Party took power and hoisted the Palestinian flag on the prefecture.
- Close links with Israel; Our community is twinned with Mazkeret Batya and the city of Seine-sur-Mer is twinned with Ashkelon
Tell us about one of the keys to the success of your community that you would like to share with other communities around the world.
It’s very simple: first of all, every person who comes to us, to me he/she is more important than me. Secondly, we all try to work for Israel and each of us is like a flag of the Jewish State.