Judaism must be lived in privacy in the South of France

June 28, 2022

Greetings From The South Of France

(A weekly newsletter)

Rabbi Marc Philippe

We arrived last week in the South of France for a destination wedding that I performed. This is an exquisite region called “Provence,” where the well-known “Herbes de Provence” come from and where all the essential oils of lavender used for a variety of products are grown and distilled. It is a region with one of the most fragrant olive oils, truffles are so abundant here that they are used in regular dishes turning, for example, scrambled eggs into a delicacy that makes your eyes close in ecstasy.

This is where you can buy the best hot sauce in the world – in my opinion – it’s called Harissa (OK it originally comes from Tunisia!). The finest soaps for the skin, Savon de Marseille, are made in the region. These are all personal treasures I am bringing back to the US. When you taste the tapenade (black olive paste) seasoned with garlic, capers and basil along with the sun-dried tomatoes with truffles and the marinated fresh artichokes, you know what they eat in Heaven.

Considering all this, we wondered why not come back and enjoy it every day. We even explored the possibilities and pondered several ideas. Yes, we could, but as an observant Jew, life isn’t so idyllic. Here, Judaism must be lived in the privacy of your own home. My Star of David pendant must be hidden beneath my shirt and my kippah under a hat or cap. One may think that it is a small price to pay for what the region offers. However, a Jewish doctor had his throat slashed three weeks ago in front of his young children across the street from his hospital. The media barely covered the incident. That is a price I am unwilling to pay.

The US has welcomed me, my Star of David is never a problem and I wear my kippah openly in public. I proudly hold an American passport; I am coming back… with a suitcase filled with treasures.

Marc Philippe is the rabbi at Kodesh House, a grassroots Jewish organization for spirituality, healing, connection and inclusion.

He offers a new and progressive space for people to get in touch with their roots. It is a place to learn, play, grow, transform and experiment while discovering and exploring the wisdom and spirituality of Judaism.

Rabbi Marc Philippe, besides being vegetarian, is also a professional musician, hypnotist, Kabbalist and Yoga enthusiast.

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