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Two Jewish billionaires have pledged a total of $122 million toward the restoration of Paris’ Notre Dame cathedral, which was ravaged in a fire.
Lily Safra, a Brazilian philanthropist, said she would give $22 million to fund the restoration efforts of the iconic church, which was badly damaged Monday, Correio 24 Horas reported. And Françoise Bettencourt Meyers, the French owner of L’Oreal, pledged another $100 million, according to CBS.
Donations - Percent - Restoration
The donations account for about 17 percent of the $700 million collected so far for the restoration.
I understand the massive financial resources that will be necessary to restore Notre Dame. Many people would be surprised to learn that no, there was no insurance.
Snarky - Cause
I am not getting snarky about those who choose to give to this worthy cause.
I know that it is always tempting to say: “Instead of giving to A, why not to B?”
Money - Churches - Louisiana
I likewise know that it is laudable to want to give money, instead and/or additionally, to the black churches that were torched in Louisiana.
My focus here is simply on Ms. Safra and Ms. Meyers’ outsized largesse.
Lily - Safra
First, Lily Safra.
The Safras are one of the most prominent Jewish families in the world. She has had an unusually rich and tragic life. She has been generous beyond imagination — most notably, to Foster’s Centre for Brain Studies, at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Ms - Meyers - Life - Grandfather - Nazis
Second, Ms. Meyers. Another interesting life. Her grandfather collaborated with the Nazis. She married Jean-Pierre Meyers, whose grandfather was a rabbi, murdered in Auschwitz. They are raising their children as Jewish. She happens to be the richest woman in the world, worth $49.3 billion.
I find myself returning to Abraham Joshua Heschel.
Idea - Places - Idea - Time - Shabbat
He was critical of the idea of holy places. He preferred the idea of holy time. Shabbat over cathedrals.
In fact, he famously said that Shabbat is the Jewish cathedral in time.
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