France's Jewish Community
The Jewish Community in France Today
Jewish tours in France, during the early 21st century, had made their people as part of the life, nuance, flavor, and triumph of the country just like any other groups. Well involved into the culture and life of
the country, French Jews are well represented in businesses, government bodies, fashion, arts, and even in entertainment.
Even though France Jewish travel are in part of the product of the popular and violent happenings in the past, most recently the tragic events of WWII, it would be a real mistake to think and not doubt that it is the full story.
WWII brought too much damage to the group who did the Jewish travel in France as it did to the natives of France in general. Out of pre-war Jewish men of around 300,000, only around 180,000 survived the German occupation and the Shoah. Everybody developed an all-out fear of death; groups were totally in confusion and even morale was low.
The participation of the French government in German war crimes was an unacceptable fact for the Jews who had considered themselves Frenchmen and expected that the government that they recognize will protect them, just like the other citizens. But things have changed for the best.
Jewish tours’ happenings after WWII
After WWII, Jewish travel was all worth it and groups in several areas were reborn; institutions were developed and the number of people has improved significantly. Now, they are considered to be the third largest Jewish group worldwide next to USA and Israel.
Years after the war, France’s Jewish people were transformed demographically. Right after the war it was a combination of older, established French Jewish families together with immigrants from Eastern and Central Europe. The relocation of North African Jews from countries like Algeria, Morocco, Egypt, century, had made their people as part of the life, nuance,
and Tunisia sometime between 1954 and 1963 not just improved the population, but changed some of the culture and beliefs as well. It was in 1970 when the Jewish group of France had changed from mainly Ashkenazi to Sephardic. This holds true up to now.
Not just did the migration of North African Jews change the demographics and the number of people, but their rapid and successful integration into the local and national French economies resulted in the establishment of new Jewish groups throughout the country. Jewish people that had been dormant or dying were completely turned around and energized. This was specifically true in Southern France,
where Jewish life in towns like Toulouse, Marseille, Nice, and Avignon is very vibrant. Currently, more than half of French Jews stay in and around Paris, but it would be a real mistake to say that France is only Paris. France’s Jewish people are also not just Parisian. Several energetic Jewish groups flourish now in Marseille, which the second biggest Jewish community, Lyon, Toulouse, Strasbourg, and more.
The Consistoire Central Israélite de France with its main office located in Paris and several other regional offices remains to be official community religious organization of France’s Jews. Covered in its sponsorships are a seminary for the education and training of rabbis, both elementary and high schools, and measures for the administration of Jewish religious laws.
The present chief rabbi, Bernheim, took an oath of office in January 2009 for a 7-year term. The Consistoire is very much particular with the obedience of Jewish law, but Rabbi Bernheim is a powerful supporter of dialogue with other religious organizations and he believes in a philosophy that favors both practical and intellectual assignations with the non-Jewish world.
Now it can be said that Jews are everywhere. Most French Jews are either less or non observant. As a result, they have built other organizations to satisfy their needs. The Union Libérale Israélite, was assembled in 1904 and bear a close resemblance to Conservative Judaism in America and Reform Judaism in UK. There are also Masorti synagogues and groups, and other independent organizations that serve specific Sephardic and Hasidic needs and practices.
Aside from specifically religious groups, there are many cultural, political, and social groups around which Jews keep some close ties to the community. In 1944 the Conseil Représentatif des Juifs de France, or CRIF was assembled as a means to match up the many unequal groups. Now, CRIF plays a major and significant role in the French Jewish community and political life and is in the vanguard of the fight against violence among Jews in France.
Many tourists like to visit France and its beautiful cities to witness first-hand its majestic architectural designs, museums, food, and everything else that makes a tour to France very memorable and special.
If you are planning to go soon, take the Jewish tours and allow the groups to welcome you and show you their excellent contributions to La Belle France. It can be an eye opener for you to know more about the real meaning of the old Yiddish saying heureux comme Dieu en France, which means “As happy as God in France” in English.