The United-States is a country built by immigrants, especially Jewish European immigrants. Immigrants actively participate in the elaboration of American culture. This country particularly respects ethnic and religious particularism and promotes "affirmative action" in the direction of sexual and ethnic minorities. Multiculturalism and communautarism are encouraged by American culture. On the contrary, commnautarism corresponds to a very pejorative term in France and it is generally assimilated to religious integrity and extremism. Since the French Revolution, France is considered as a country which doesn't respect regional, ethnic and religious particularism. France promotes assimilation in order to integrate immigrants in the French Republic and culture. Besides, the recent presidential election campaign emphasizes the key issue of "French national identity". Both have imagined two deeply different strategies in order to integrate immigrants in the Nation. In those two countries, the Jewish Diaspora, which mainly results from old and recent immigration, represents one of the most important communities. Consequently, we may wonder how the Jewish Diaspora has evolved in those two countries over the past 60 years. In spite of a different model of integration, are there more similarities or differences between French and American Jewish community? Finally, we may wonder as to what extent the French Jewish community is influenced by the American Jewish experience.
[...] The reconstitution and the affirmation of the Jewish community in public space is the result of many factors and are materialized through community organizations. After the World War II, the American Jewish community already exists. Jews' affinity to the dominant Protestant culture contributed to their remarkable integration into American life. In spite of Jews have become an integral part of the cultural activities of the nation, they have retained their ethnic identity more than any non-Protestant immigrant group. In France, the situation of Jewish community is partially different. [...]
[...] Anti-Semitism is a constant fact of life in the United States and in France (murders, attacks against synagogues, attack against the Mémorial du martyr juif inconnu by machine guns in 1980 or racism of Jean-Marie Le Pen's radical- right National Front). Since the second Intifada, anti-Semitic acts have increased. In order to fight anti-Semitism and segregation, the leaders of the American Jewish community created the Ligue B'nai Brith. In 1968, Rabbi Meir Kahane founded the Jewish Defense League, an extremist organisation which has its counterpart in France. [...]
[...] MARSDEN George M., Religion and American culture, Orlando, HBJ MARSDEN George M., Religion and American culture, Orlando, HBJ This feminist Jewish group called for “count(ing) women in the minyan and enabl(ing) them to participate fully in public religious life, train(ing) women be rabbis and cantors, encourag(ing) them to assume leadership roles in the synagogue and community, and permit(ting) them to serve as witnesses and initiat(ing) divorce”. HYMAN Paula, Ezrat Nashim and the emergence of a New Jewish Feminism. ZYTNICKI Colette, Du rapatrié au Séfarade. [...]
[...] This tension appears with pointedness in the novels The Chosen (1967) and The Promise (1969) written by Chaim Potok where modern sensibilities are contrasted with the strict observance and distinctive dress of the fervently orthodox Hasidic Jews. To conclude, following the American experience, the resurgence of the French Jewish community is based on the recognition of a common past, history and interests. Solidarity and defence of those interests are the main goals of Jewish organizations. Jews became aware of the risk of dilution of their identity. [...]
[...] By reviving this spectre, it is more difficult for French Jews to assume an identity essentially definable by the support of Israel like in the United States whereas French Jews could be loyal to France and Israel simultaneously. Moreover, the second Intifada has divided the community and the Jewish intellectuals in two camps. Finally, unlike the United States where Jews were protected during the World War II, French Jews has been victims of Vichy persecutions. Consequently, the French Jewish identity is not clearly definable by the support of Israel because it is very polemical. [...]
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