France’s chief rabbi, visiting Canada, downplays threats to Jewish life in his country

Rabbi Haim Korsia
France’s Chief Rabbi Haim Korsia meets with The CJN Daily’s Ellin Bessner outside his hotel in Montreal on Friday, July 22, 2023. (Elias Levy photo)

On July 24, Chief Rabbi Haim Korsia of France wraps up his hectic weeklong tour of Ontario and Quebec. But it wasn’t his first time in the country, or specifically Montreal—he came over 30 years ago for a family wedding.

In an interview with The CJN Daily, Rabbi Korsia downplayed the impression that France’s Jewish community faces an increasingly difficult future in the wake of terrorist attacks and physical violence in the past decade.

Tens of thousands of French Jews have moved to Israel, while about 700 French Jewish families are now living in Montreal.

The rabbi also supported Quebec’s controversial new law, Bill 21, banning the display of religious headgear and other items for people who work for the provincial government. A similar veto has long existed under France’s embrace of “secularism”.

He returns to France Monday night, after visiting a myriad of Jewish organizations, Sephardic synagogues and communal agencies operating in Montreal—a network that left him deeply impressed by what he views as a strong, unified sense of community, which he said does not exist for Jews in his native country.

What we talked about

  • Learn more about immigration of French Jews to Canada, in The CJN from 2014 and 2017
  • When Quebec Jews pressured a promoter to cancel show by French rapper Freeze Corleone, on antisemitism lyrics, in The CJN
  • Discover the Initiative France Montreal run by Agence Ometz to absorb French Jewish immigrants, including those from Belgium and Switzerland


The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Zachary Kauffman is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our intern is Ashok Lamichhane (@jesterschest on Twitter).Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. We’re a member of The CJN Podcast Network. To subscribe to this podcast, please watch this video. Donate to The CJN and receive a charitable tax receipt by clicking here.