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French Jewry, 1945–1995

A Portrait of a Western European Community

Michael M. Laskier is professor of modern history in the Department of Middle Eastern History and director of the Center and Endowed Chair for the Study of Resistance Movements named after Israel's former Prime Minister Menachem Begin. His publications include books which concentrate on Israel and the Arab world, inter-Arab politics, Egypt and the Maghreb, Mediterranean politics and society, Jewish–Muslim relations in the lands of Islam and Western Europe, and the relations between the European Union and the Middle Eastern & Maghrebi states.

This comprehensive history of French Jewry in the fifty years covering the end of World War II until the presidential election of May 1995 in the Fifth Republic is also the first study of its kind. Most modern and contemporary histories of the French Jewish communities after 1945 period rely on secondary sources and testimonies by community activists, or selected studies subsumed in conference proceedings. Generally, much of the written history devoted to the modern period that is well documented focuses on the nineteenth century onto the liberation of France in 1944 from Vichy and German domination.

Having consulted all major archives in France, Israel and the United States that are in French, English, Hebrew, and Yiddish, Michael Laskier provides a fascinating history of the third largest Jewish population concentration after Israel and the United States. Major themes include: the diverse and multiple organizational structures and their vitality; Zionist endeavors and French-Jewish efforts on behalf of the Jewish communities of the Middle East and the Maghreb at the height of the colonial and post-colonial eras; relations with major Jewries in Europe and North America; the influence of American Jewry on its French counterpart; burgeoning ties with the State of Israel in the heydays of the unwritten Franco-Israeli alliance and subsequently when the alliance disintegrated and relations were at their lowest ebb; important communal fundraising activity; and the deep challenges of anti-Semitism related to the Middle East conflict or attributed to domestic trends. At socioeconomic, cultural, educational and intellectual activity levels, this study delves into controversial inter-communal issues as demography, orthodoxy, secularism, assimilation and intermarriage – all of which affected French Jews at the end of the twentieth century.

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-84519-487-1
Hardback Price: £90.00 / $125.00
Release Date: To be advised
Page Extent / Format: 460 pp. / 246 x 171 mm
Illustrated: No


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