Bastille Day: Jewish France in Light and Shadow
Concerning both Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews, at the center of major historical developments, the Jewish history of France is as diverse as the French nation. It spans from the enlightened to the cruel, from the progressive to the tragic. Here are some defining moments in French-Jewish history.
Happy Bastille Day to all!
1. 1040-1105 – Legend has it that Rashi, the great medieval Torah commentator, allowed his daughters to lay Tefillin
2. June 17, 1244 – The burning of the Talmud in Paris
3. 1394 – Jews are exiled from France. Only one of several exile decrees between the 14th and 17th centuries
4. 1675 – Louis XIV allows some Jews to live in France under special permission
5. 1806 – Napoleon establishes the Grand Sanhedrin of Paris, and liberates Jews from Ghettos throughout Europe
6. 1831 – Chamber of Peers votes for full civil rights for Jews – ratified by king Louis Philippe
7. 1870 – Algerian Jews made French citizens – thus making France a large Sephardi community as well as Ashkenazi
8. 1894-1906 – Dreyfus Affair rocks French society to it’s foundation. The outbreak of Anti-Semitism influences a Viennese journalist covering the case, Theodor Herzl, to launch the Zionist movement
9. 1936 – Leon Blum becomes the first Jewish Prime Minister of France. He will be followed by four others
10. 1956 – Immigration of more than 200,000 Jews from North Africa into France in one decade
11. 2015 – The terrorist attacks on Hypercacher Jewish Market, shortly after Charlie Hebdo shooting, is one of several anti-Semitic hate-crimes in recent decades. It leads to a burst of solidarity by Parisians towards their fellow Jewish citizens