(lubavitch.com) France’s Consul General, Mr. Philippe Lalliot, toured Chabad Lubavitch’s international headquarters in Brooklyn, Wednesday. The Consul General was accompanied by his Press and Information counselor, Marie-laure Charrier and Harriet Mandel, President of Jewish Global Associates. Rabbi Yirmi Berkowitz and Mrs. Batya Lisker from Lubavitch Headquarters.
During his visit, he met with several members of Chabad leadership and explored the writings and artifacts housed in the library of Agudas Chasidei Chabad.
The Consul General and his entourage also visited the Jewish Children’s Museum and the Educational Institute of Oholei Torah, a boy’s yeshiva where many French students study. There they met with a delegation of French students.
Consul General Lalliot, who has been based in New York since August of last year, serves the French expatriate community. France is home to the largest Chabad community outside of Israel and the United States. There are over 500,000 Jewish people living in France today.
During a meeting with Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky, Chairman of the Chabad-Lubavitch educational and social services divisions, the two discussed various challenges facing contemporary Jewish life.
The Consul General expressed his understanding of these challenges and also voiced his support for continued education. He has taken his three young children to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. “It is very difficult to explain to young innocent children,” he related. “We don’t want to shock anyone, but educating them is so important.”
Throughout his Brooklyn tour, Consul General Lalliot asked many questions regarding Chabad’s history and global efforts, its connection with France, and general Jewish practice. Before leaving, he remarked, “I had an image in my mind that your community was very closed, but it’s exactly the contrary.”
Staff writer Yaacov Behrman contributed to this report