Three months after an apparent anti-Semitic attack left the cafeteria of S. Denis, France’s Chabad-Lubavitch center severely charred, the local Jewish community reports one of the largest Passover gatherings in the Paris suburb.

In addition, say community leaders, the Ohr Menachem Chabad House directed by Rabbi Yisroel and Rivky Belinow distributed food and financial assistance to some 70 needy families this holiday season, the highest number in recent memory. Yisroel Belinow attributed the increased need to the state of the economy.

Back in January, vandals threw Molotov cocktails into the Chabad House, sparking a damaging fire. The rabbi said that he and his staff kept the recent event in mind when approaching Passover, the Jewish holiday of freedom, earlier this month.

“We saw we had to do more, because of what happened to us,” he said.

A total of 50 people attended each of two Seders at the Chabad House; one guest remarked that it was the first Seder he’d been to in 35 years.

Other families received packages containing chicken, wine, matzah, candles and food vouchers in the days leading up to the holiday. Depending on need, the Chabad House also included money in the packages for families to buy children’s clothes.

“On Passover, especially, people should feel a bit freer,” said Belinow.

Over the course of the eight-day holiday, residents in need ate their meals at the Chabad House, necessitating added security to ensure the safety of the guests. More than 120 people attended the traditional Moshiach’s Meal, a concluding feast observed by the Baal Shem Tov and Chasidic Jews ever since.

“We had more people than usual,” said Rivky Belinow. “Community members want to be connected to their shul.”