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French-Jewish Racial Identity and the Right to Be Different

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Publication Date: January 2007

Publisher(s): Association for Jewish Studies; Association for Jewish Studies

Author(s): Lisa Moses Leff; Lisa Moses Leff

Series: AJS Perspectives: The Newsletter of the Association for Jewish Studies, Fall 2007, pp.8-10.

Special Collection: Berman Jewish Policy Archive

Topic: Culture and religion (Religion and religious groups)

Keywords: Race; Judaic Studies; Jewish Identification; Antisemitism

Type: Report

Coverage: France France


The author explores the ways in which French Jews self-identified in racial terms during the mid-19th Century, before the advent of racial antisemitism. The author asserts that this racial self-identification was intended to be part of larger trends of political messianism and nationalism, and that Jews used this framework to articulate both their indelible uniqueness and their essential connectedness to all humanity simultaneously.