The Shaping of a Jewish Identity in Nineteenth-Century France

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Wayne State University Press, 1995 - History - 308 pages
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Nineteenth-century French Jewry was a community struggling to meet the challenges of emancipation and modernity. This struggle, with its origins in the founding of the French nation, constitutes the core of modern Jewish
identity.

With the Revolution of 1789 came the collapse of the social, political, and philosophical foundations of exclusiveness, forcing French society and the Jews to come to terms with the meaning of emancipation. Over time, the enormous challenge that the
emancipation posed for traditional Jewish beliefs became evident. In the 1830s, a more comprehensive ideology of r g n ration emerged through the efforts of younger Jewish scholars and intellectuals. A response to the social and religious implications of emancipation, it was characterized by the demand for the elimination of rituals that violated the French conceptions of civilisation and social integration; a drive for greater
administrative centralization; and the quest for inter-communal and ethnic unity. In its various elements, regeneration formed a distinct ideology of emancipation that was designed to mediate Jewish interaction with French
society and culture.

In this book, Jay Berkovitz reveals the complexities inherent in the processes of emancipation and modernization, focusing on the efforts of French Jewish leaders to come to terms with the social and religious implications of modernity. All in all, his emphasis on the intellectual history of French Jewry provides a new perspective on a significant chapter of Jewish history.

 

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Contents

Acknowledgments
9
PART ONE Enlightenment Revolution and Emancipation
23
PART Two The Beginnings of Modernization
85
PART THREE Tradition and Transformation
127
The Struggle over Religious Reform
203
PART FOUR Jewish Identity in the Second Republic and Second
229
Notes
252
Glossary
288
Index
302
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About the author (1995)

Jay R. Berkovitz is an associate professor in the department of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He received his Ph.D. from Bradeis University.

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