(Annabelle Azade/Tablet) Three years after the Hypercacher siege, the French Jewish community is still wary. Last week, the Minister of Interior published the yearly numbers of anti-Semitic crimes. While racist crimes dropped by 16 percent, violent anti-Semitic ones committed nearby or at Jewish locations increased by 22 percent in 2017. That same week, the trial of Kabili Traore—a Muslim Parisian who stabbed and killed Sarah Halimi, a 60-year-old Jewish Parisian last April—took an unexpected turn as the felony was not recognized as a hate crime, even though, according to several witnesses, Traore shouted anti-Semitic slurs as he murdered his victim.
It is in this context that Radio Shalom, a very popular left-wing French Jewish radio, has decided to relocate. On a frisky Sunday morning in a backstreet near Republique square, Bernard Abouaf, the yarmulke-wearing director of the station, opened the door to guests. The new studio has neither bell nor sign, only a reinforced door. It is a very anonymous entrance, which is intended to keep potential disruptors away.
Radio host and rabbi Gilles Bernheim helped inaugurate the station’s new digs. “We need to remember that we are all part of the same tribe,” he said, pinning the new mezuzah in place. A mezuzah, rabbi Bernheim reminded the small audience in attendance, “means that anybody is welcome here, thus we need to respect each and every one.”