Rabbi Sandler: 'He was a wonderful teacher'

Rabbi Jonathan Sandler with his family

Rabbi Jonathan Sandler with his family

The rabbi who lost his life at the age of 30 on Monday morning was a much-loved teacher who touched the lives of those he taught.

Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, who was murdered alongside his two sons and another young girl, had returned to France to teach at the Ozar Hatorah school in Toulouse last year.

Rabbi Sandler, who witnesses said attempted in vain to shield his sons from the gunman, was born in Paris but grew up attending the school in Toulouse where the attack took place.

The devoted Jewish scholar, who studied in Israel for several years and taught at Boys Town Jerusalem's "Naale Zion" programme for French immigrants, was described by friends as a "wonderful teacher". He is survived by his wife, daughter and unborn child. His distraught widow, Eva, who has decided to stay in Israel, said that her husband had been passionate about teaching children with learning disabilities so that they "could become well acquainted with the Torah. He wanted to bring people closer to one another, and he didn't want to give up on a single student."

Rabbi Sandler was buried in a cemetery near Jerusalem, with the other victims. Thousands attended the ceremony, during which Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin said: "the entire house of Israel weeps over these murders".

Also present was French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, who said: "Our children are being buried here in the land of Israel, but their memories shall live on and be honoured in the land of France." He added: "We are determined to fight every expression of antisemitism."

    Last updated: 4:27pm, March 22 2012