(...) there are two kinds of aliyah, Baccouche says. In addition to the well publicized departures to Israel, there is also movement within the country. Parts of Paris remain appealing, such as Neuilly sur Seine. It has experienced an “internal aliyah,” mostly of wealthier Jews who can afford the higher priced real estate. The 17th Arrondisement, home to a future Jewish community center, is experiencing a rise in the number of Jewish residents and, subsequently, kosher restaurants, Amsellem says.
Still, a number of areas that were once considered havens for Jews have since become “trenches of hatred,” Baccouche says. Besides Pantin, these include suburbs north of Paris, Seine-Saint-Denis, Stains and Sarcelles (where anti-Semitic riots occurred in July 2014), as well as Lyon and areas near Marseilles.
“A lot of Jews live there, very concentrated. There are a lot of conflicts,” says Baccouche, who resides in the 16th Arrondisement near the Eiffel Tower.
Terror contributes to the most visible changes in Parisian neighborhoods after the 2015 massacres at Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher. For visitors, armed sentries at synagogues and other public institutions are a sad landmark of Jewish presence.
“The atmosphere socially and culturally is not good in general in all of France because there is a diminishing in the culture,” Baccouche says.
The Great Synagogue of Paris, La Victoire, is relatively quiet, but it, too, is experiencing a slow attrition. The family of synagogue president Jacques Canet once owned a majority stake in Izod Lacoste and Yves Saint Laurent.
Involved in the synagogue’s leadership in various capacities for more than 20 years, his adult children live abroad; his son in New York and his daughter in Switzerland. His son is a former president of the Union of French Jewish students who decided to move overseas when he witnessed the deterioration of ties between French Jewish university students and their Muslim counterparts.