Renowned French-Jewish philosopher, Bernard-Henri Lévy, was deeply touched after visited the “Mishpacha” orphanage in Odessa, and wrote high praises of shliach Rabbi Avraham Wolff.
Renowned French-Jewish philosopher, Bernard-Henri Lévy, visited the “Mishpacha” orphanage in Odessa and agreed when the shliach offered to put tefillin on him, stating, “I pray for peace for the Jewish people and for peace in Ukraine.”
Lévy, who is often referred to as ‘BHL’, is a philosopher and writer, and is known for being one of the leaders of the “Nouveaux Philosophes” (New Philosophers) movement in 1976. Levy paid a visit to the Jewish community in Odessa, where he also visited the “Mishpacha” Jewish orphanage to film for an upcoming documentary about the Jewish communities’ struggle during the war in Ukraine.
The French philosopher was received by shliach Rabbi Avraham Wolff, who shared the challenging experience of raising 120 orphaned children under fire.
During the visit, which was accompanied by Igor Shatkhin, Chairman of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Southern Ukraine, Lévy was moved to tears more than once. He became emotional when he heard about the orphans’ dramatic rescue journey at the start of the war, when they escaped to Germany and, later on, their return to their warm home in Odessa in recent months.
He also had some high words of praise for the shliach himself upon witnessing his selfless work.
“Avraham Wolff. Chief Rabbi of the Southern Region (#Odesa, #Kherson, #Sebastopol, etc). Prays just like during the time of Baal Shem Tov. Studies like the masters of the Talmud did. This miraculous and intact continuity, it’s also #Ukraine and it’s also #Europe. #SlavaUkraini,” Levy tweeted during his visit.
The conversation between the philosopher and the shliach lasted for hours, during which Lévy was exposed to the heartwarming activities of the Jewish communal institutions during the difficult war period. He witnessed firsthand the significant impact of the war on the lives of the young children and understood the profound influence they receive from Rabbi Wolf and his wife, Rebbetzin Chaya, 24 hours a day, with the help of a dedicated team of educators.
At the end of the visit, Rabbi Wolff offered the Jewish-French philosopher the chance to put on tefillin, and he agreed to do so.
“I don’t remember the last time I put on tefillin, but now I’m doing it for the prayer for peace within the Jewish people and for peace in Ukraine,” Levy said.