Mikvah Monday Ajaccio Corsica 1 (France)

 

Welcome to our first Mikvah Monday Post!

This week, we will explore the community in,

Ajaccio, Corsica France

 

Ajaccio is the capital city of Corsica, a French island in the Mediterranean Sea, renowned as the birthplace of the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. Many Jews were drawn to the area during Napoleon’s reign, due to his favorable view on religion, however, as foreseen by the holy Baal Hatanya zt”l, they eventually assimilated with the general population and not a trace of Yiddishkeit remained. This pattern repeated itself over the years with Yidden settling in the area and then either leaving or assimilating.

The year 5760/2000 saw a sudden influx of Yidden to Ajaccio with the arrival of several prominent doctors and the uptick of the economy. When the current Chabad shliach, Rabbi Levi Pinson, first visited Ajaccio he met great grandchildren of the original settlers who had come hundreds of years earlier. Many of their grandmothers who intermarried, now— unbelievably—have grandchildren studying in the local Talmud Torah!

The community swells during the summer months with the arrival of vacationers to the area. During this time there is a minyan every day, not just on Shabbos, and the enthusiasm lasts through the uplifting Yomim Tovim, bringing many unaffiliated Yidden closer to their roots.

Adhering to the laws of family purity involved a plane ride and an ample dose of mesiras nefesh, as there was no mikvah in all of Corsica. As such, Rabbi Pinson threw himself into the project of establishing a comfortable, fully equipped local mikvah and he reached out to Mikvah Tahara to make it happen.

At last, we had the honor and privilege in taking part in the grand opening event for the brand new Mikvah. When the Mikvah Tahara representative arrived in Corsica he was greeted by many yidden and a flourishing community! An older man approached him and told that during world war 2 Corsica stood strong and protected almost every single jew. Corsican authorities told members of the Vichy regime at the time that no Jews lived on the island, hiding thousands of Jews!

#MikvahMonday

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