Jews Worldwide have taken to the internet to pay their respects to the victims of the terrorist attack on a kosher store in Paris last week.
Sites such as Facebook have been used to set up web pages in memory of those who died, raise money for victims’ families and publicise events on the ground. Hashtags such as #JeSuisJuif (I am Jewish) and #NousSommesTousJuif (We are all Jewish) have trended on Twitter, and Facebook community groups such as ‘JeSuisHyperCacher’ (named after the kosher deli) became hubs and forums, after gaining thousands of ‘likes’ in a matter of hours.
In other cases, friends and family went online to share their pain and loss. Raphael Le Lev, who became friends with victim Yoav Hattab on a recent Taglit-Birthright trip to Israel, set up a dedication page for him in La Releve, a student website. “He was a great guy,” he told Jewish News.
“He encouraged people to live righteously and do mitzvot. Two minutes before he passed away he sent a text message to a close female friend to motivate her to keep Shabbat this week. She said she had an important exam in the morning, but she kept her promise in his memory.”
Sharon Seb, the girlfriend of Yohan Cohen, another of the victims, set up a Facebook page in his memory, calling it ‘Je suis Yohan’ and using it to address the terrorists directly. “You took a part of me,” she wrote. “I have no words to describe my sadness. I am destroyed for all of my life.”
Meanwhile, an online appeal to raise money for victim Philippe Braham’s widow Valerie and his three children quickly chalked up £81,000, after his death left the family with no financial support.
“Valerie is a stay-at-home mother and does not work,” it reads. “Let’s show her solidarity and provide for her material needs.”
Who were these victims
Yoav Hattab Yoav Hattab, 21, was the son of the Tunisian Chief Rabbi.
In France to finish his studies, he had recently returned from a Taglit-Birthright trip to Israel, but was also a proud Tunisian, having voted in the country’s first free elections following the Arab Spring.
Unlike the atmosphere in Tunisia, where Jews and Arabs rub along, Paris felt hostile to him and, shortly before he died, he called his father to apologise for not feeling comfortable enough to wear his yarmulke in public.
Tunisian-born François-Michel Saada, 64, was a pension fund manager by profession.
He was reported to have been married to Laurence Saada, a psychomotor therapist, for more than 30 years, and their two children lived in Israel.
One of his friends said: “He led his life for the happiness of his family. He was a husband and an exemplary father.”
His friend, Sgt David Kremlinsky, who left France to make aliyah two years ago and is stationed at Mt Hermon, enlisted the help of 890 IDF colleagues to write “We stand with you” in the snow.
Philippe Braham, 45, was a teacher who had also been a computer engineer and an insurance agent.
He lived with his wife Valerie and their three children in a quiet town called L’Haÿ-les-Roses, just south of Paris, where he attended synagogue in the suburb of Montrouge. Neighbours described him as “quiet and polite”.
Valerie’s brother said Philippe, who had another child by a previous marriage, was an observant Jew and proud Zionist.
Yohan Cohen, 22, a student from Sarcelles in northern Paris, was working at the Hyper Cacher supermarket to pay for his wedding, living with his mother in the meantime.
He was killed after grabbing a gun that had been left on the side and aiming it at the terrorist, but the weapon had jammed earlier and did so again. Cohen’s heroics got him killed.
His girlfriend Sharon Seb set up a Facebook page for him called ‘Je Suis Yohan’.