Originally born in Paris, Yonatan learned as a youngster in the very same yeshiva – Otzar HaTorah – where he eventually became a rebbi. After his move to Israel, the idealistic young man continued studying at the Beit Halevy Yeshiva in Bayit Vegan, and – following his marriage – he settled in Har Nof and became a full-time Torah student in Zichron Shimon Kollel. Funded by the Wolfson Fund, the kollel trains its members to ultimately resettle in countries outside Israel and serve as a religious mentor to Jews in need of spiritual guidance. Accordingly, Rabbi Sandler immigrated to Toulouse in Southern France several months ago, where he solidified his commitment to his mission by becoming a melamed at the yeshiva.
“Yonatan had been openly speaking about how emotional he felt, returning to the religious school where he started out, only now in the capacity of a rabbi who is responsible for the spiritual well-being of others,” said Rabbi Aaron Gates, a former study partner of the deceased. “While he was fully committed to his work in France, he was nevertheless determined to return to his ‘home’ in Eretz Yisrael after two years, so that he could continue to pursue his Torah learning.”
The other victims of the attack were three-year-old Aryeh and Gavriel Sandler, the rabbi’s two children, and eight-year-old Miriam Monsonego, a daughter of Otzar HaTorah’s principal.