Restoring and renovating Jewish cemeteries is a duty inspired by gemilut chasadim.
The MATANEL Foundation supports the Association Sauvegarde du patrimoine juif français et européen (SPJFE) whose mission is to contribute to the preservation of monuments of interest for the history of Judaism in France and in Europe. This association has offered to protect and renovate the medieval Jewish cemetery in Ennezat in Auvergne (located 20 kilometers away from Clermont-Ferrand). This 13th-century necropolis comprises 700 tombs. This site is unique and exceptional in France and in Europe. The site, which has always been known as “le Champ des Juifs” [the Jews’ field], was threatened by a construction project. The necropolis lays under plots extending on a surface of 9,600 square meters, on which the plot-owners planned to build houses. In 1992, the Institut français d’archéologie préventive (INRAP) conducted archeological excavations on it. In June 2009, the site was classified as a Historical Monument and the SPJFE appointed architect Maftah Lissiri Project Manager to renovate it. The project is run and monitored by a committee on which sit the Mayor of Ennezat, several representatives of the State and of local authorities, as well as the SPJFE managers. The SPJFE plans on acquiring the site. The Matanel Foundation, the State, and local authorities will fund the renovation project. A visitor center and a meditation space will be built. A museum will present casts and copies of objects dating back to the medieval period (gravestones, ketubot, ancient documents…). A scientific committee including experts in the history and archeology of that time period in France will supervise the replication and reconstruction process. This project aims to promote the remembrance of the Jews who lived in Ennezat and in Auvergne in the medieval period. A partnership with the university of Clermont-Ferrand is planned to research the life of Jews who lived in the market town of Ennezat, an active economic center where a famous trade fair used to be held throughout the Middle Ages.