French Jews: Between Citizenship and Community

Pierre Birnbaum

in Studies in Contemporary Jewry: XI: Values, Interests, and Identity

Published in print May 1996 | ISBN: 9780195103311
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199854585 | DOI:

Series: Studies in Contemporary Jewry

French Jews: Between Citizenship and Community

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Since the time of the French Revolution, the French state, regarding itself as the sole source of rationality, has looked with ill favor on all forms of community organization that could cast doubt on the wholehearted allegiance of its citizens. It is in this new context that the status of French Jewry today should be considered. From the time of the French Revolution, Jews in France traditionally had a special relationship with the state that had emancipated them in accordance with its own principles of liberty and equality, displaying an enthusiastic allegiance to this “strong” state that had not only brought them citizenship so quickly but had ensured a protective public order. In the view of many historians, French Judaism illustrates the way in which emancipation provided a fertile soil for assimilation and the emergence of “Israelites” devoted to the republican state and increasingly detached from their internal communal ties.

Keywords: community; France; Jewry; citizenship; Judaism; emancipation; liberty; equality; assimilation; Israelites

Chapter.  6876 words. 

Subjects: History of Religion

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