Seminarians and rabbis celebrate Shabbat together
At the entrance to the Beaugrenelle synagogue, in the 15e arrondissement of Paris, seminarians from the diocese of Paris cross the double door, one by one, welcomed by “shabbat shalom”. They are given a yarmulke to attend the Shabbat service this Friday, September 23, at the invitation of the liberal rabbis of Judaism in Movement (JEM).
This « fraternal meeting » with future priests was organized on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of the Jewish New Year 5783, celebrated from September 25 to 27. “It is a beautiful period for the Jews, a period of reconciliation between the faithful, rejoices Rabbi Philippe Haddad, of the liberal movement JEM and Judeo-Christian Friendship Prize in France in 2021. It is therefore a period conducive to meetings. » It is also an opportunity for future priests to« to consider Judaism not only as an ancient heritage, because of our Jewish roots »but also as a « concrete reality », welcomes Father Jean-Baptiste Arnaud, trainer of the seminary and parish priest of Saint-Louis-en-l’Île. It is also the first office attended by Henri, 24 years old.
As part of his training, he has already had courses on Judaism, Hebrew courses or even the study of the books of the Old Testament, but this meeting allows, in his eyes, “to know Christ better”. « We feel at home with those who read the Bible », he smiled. In the prayer room, Rabbi Delphine Horvilleur welcomes the children of the community for a Shabbat service to music, “like a family mass”, she explains. Under the eyes of the seminarians, she sings, claps her hands, tells stories… « It makes you want to understand the issues of catechesis differently for children, laughs Albert, a 27-year-old seminarian. In our parishes, we are sometimes still in a very descending content, it would be interesting to dig into the place given to songs, to gestures. »
The seminarians then attend a « Kabbale Shabbat », a particular form of the Friday service, alongside the faithful of the community, who have come in large numbers. Albert is marked by this Jewish liturgy turned towards « the blessing of God through the congregation, and the expectation of his blessing », in resonance with the Eucharistic celebration. He is also touched by the canticle of « Lekha dodi », during which all the faithful turn towards the front door, to welcome the presence of God, physically. An invitation that « face » of his faith, and “makes you think about how you live this desire for God”.“How do we make God desired in our parishes and our apostolates? »
The presence of seminarians on this holiday eve is also symbolic. « I was hit by the double door at the entrance », testifies Maxime, 34, ordained deacon in a few weeks, in reference to the security device put in place in front of each Jewish place of worship. “I think that our coming is also a beautiful sign of friendship, a way of saying: we are here for you. »