Being a Jewish Woman in French Society

Publication Date: November 1999

Publisher: Hadassah-Brandeis Institute

Author(s): Regine Azria

Research Area: Culture and religion; Population and demographics; Social conditions

Keywords: Communal Organization; Jewish Engagement; Assimilation; Women

Type: Report

Coverage: France


French Jewish women today, of both Sephardic and Ashkenazi origin, tend to be middle class and highly educated, with higher divorce rates and fewer children than preceding generations. The younger generation in particular seems to distance itself from the organized Jewish community, likely in keeping with French culture's individualistic values and distaste for sectarian community building. The unaffiliated French Jewish majority poses a concern for Jewish continuity in France and the European Diaspora. Still, with the exception of teaching, women continue to be overwhelmingly excluded from public religious life, despite some progress in the attainment of community leadership positions. Finally, the author notes the lack of data about the role of Judaism in the every day home lives of French Jewish women.