The city of Metz closed a street to vehicular traffic last week on the second day of Rosh Hashana,
the Jewish New Year. The street will reopen at the end of the holy day of Yom Kippur,
on September 14.
JTA reports that Rabbin Bloch Street houses several Jewish institutions, and the region’s transport company cited "Jewish holidays" as the reason for the street’s closure.
Metz is located 40 miles (64 kilometers) northwest of Strasbourg in Eastern France. The city had a Jewish population of about 4,000 in 1987. The Jewish community in Metz was established during the 16th century.
Some Muslims spoke out against the closure, saying it represented a double standard that French authorities had towards Jewish and Muslim sensibilities when applying the separation of church and state.
At the time, Marine Le Pen,
leader of the ultranationalist group Front National, compared the prayers to "the occupation," making a direct relation between Muslims and the Nazi occupation of France.
Reprinted with permission from Shalom Life