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Farhi, Daniel


FARHI, DANIEL (1941– ), French reform rabbi. Farhi was born in Paris to a Jewish family of Turkish descent. He was hidden and protected by a Protestant family during the war, began rabbinical studies in 1959, and was ordained a rabbi in 1966. He chose to join the reform Union Libérale Israélite de France, France's first liberal Jewish congregation, located in Paris and known as "rue Copernic," the street where its main synagogue is located. In 1970, he became first rabbi at the Copernic synagogue, a position that he left in 1977 to create a new liberal movement, the Mouvement Juif Libéral de France (mjlf), originally comprised of just 50 families and subsequently growing to a few hundred. Dedicated to the promotion of Reform Judaism, Farhi also emphasized in his rabbinical activity the importance of inter-religious dialogue, especially with Islam and Christianity. Another main axis of Farhi's concerns was the memory of the Shoah and its transmission, being himself an "enfant caché" (hidden child). Farhi was the first to introduce in France the celebration of Yom Ha-Shoah in 1990, with a 24-hour-long recitation of the names of French Jewish deportees and Holocaust victims. He worked in close association with Serge and Beate *Klarsfeld to foster public awareness of the Shoah. Farhi was imprisoned in Germany for trying to pursue Nazi criminals but managed to organize a number of pilgrimages to Auschwitz. He was eventually able to merge his two main concerns – religious dialogue and transmission of the Shoah – when he joined the inter-religious pilgrimage set up by Emile Shoufani, an Arab-Israeli priest from Nazareth, which brought together at Auschwitz Muslims, Christians, and Jews, Israeli and French. Farhi wrote several books on Israel and the transmission of Judaism (Parler aux enfants d'Israël), the problematics of liberal Judaism (Un judaïsme dans le siècle), and the Shoah (Audernier survivant), as well as two prayer books for Reform communities, Siddour Taher Libénou and Mahzor Anénou. Fahri also served on the editorial board of the MJLF review, Tenou'a-Le Mouvement. He was awarded several prestigious honors, including chevalier de l'ordre national du Mérite and chevalier de l'ordre national de la Légion d'honneur, a distinction that he received in 1993 from Simone *Veil, state minister and Holocaust survivor.

[Dror Franck Sullaper (2nd ed.)]

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