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Challenges of Equality

Judaism, State, and Education in Nineteenth-Century France

Jeffrey Haus

Publication Year: 2009

Explores the relationship between Judaism, state, and education in France from the establishment of the Jewish Consistory in 1808 until the separation of church and state in 1905.

Published by: Wayne State University Press


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p. v

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Preface and Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-ix

This book began with a basic question: How did French anticlerical legislation affect French Jews during the first half of the Third Republic (roughly 1875–1906)? Searching for the answer led me to focus on education, which was one of the main targets of anticlerical activity. My research into schools took me to France, where I combed the holdings of the Archives Nationales, ...

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pp. 1-6

On January 4, 1812, Félix-Julien-Jean Bigot de Préameneu wrote a letter. In his capacity as Napoleon Bonaparte’s Minister of Religions, he wrote many letters, but this one must have seemed a particular chore. For more than three years, the leaders of the Jewish Consistory—the officially recognized administrative structure charged with integrating French Jews and ...


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1. Foundations

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pp. 9-27

Like France itself, French Jewry hardly constituted a cohesive, unified entity by the 1790s, or even by the beginning of the nineteenth century. Conceptions of the relationship between being Jewish and being French in the aftermath of the Revolution were equally diverse. As some scholars have suggested, French Jews repeatedly adapted their sense of themselves in response to changing political, intellectual, social, and economic forces.1 ...

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2. Roadblocks to Regeneration

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pp. 28-42

In January 1832, Louis Cottard sent a passionate letter to the Minister of Education on behalf of the Jewish schools within his jurisdiction. As Rector of the Academy of Strasbourg, Cottard was the top educational official in the district and hoped to win government financial support for Jewish schooling. Cottard brought to his work a strong belief in the moral value ...

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3. Redefinition and Consolidation

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pp. 43-61

On March 2, 1869, the leaders of the Jewish Consistory in Strasbourg sent a report to the Central Consistory in Paris detailing the state of Jewish education within their jurisdiction. At first glance, the report glowed with satisfaction. The Strasbourg leadership pointed proudly to strong Jewish participation in the educational system. In all, 2,671 Jewish students ...


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4. How Much Latin Should a Rabbi Know?

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pp. 65-90

In September 1864, the Bordeaux Consistory installed Simon L

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5. A Tale of Two Cities: From Metz to Paris

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pp. 91-111

While the consistorial leadership worked to assure that all Jews in France became cultured isra


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6. Challenges of Equality: Financial Anticlericalism

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pp. 115-133

In 1884 a Parisian Jew named Adolphe Beyfus died, bequeathing gifts to different Jewish institutions in the capital. Among his legacies, Beyfus left a bed in the Jewish hospital, 6,000f for the Jewish charity board (comit

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7. Jewish Education and Jewish Space

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pp. 134-150

In the autumn of 1903, the Baroness de Rothschild offered to pay for the expansion of the Paris Consistory’s Jewish education courses. Classes would move to more convenient locales; new classes would begin where necessary, and supervision of the lessons would become more systematic.1 The consistorial leaders agreed, and in January 1904 the Baroness covered the cost of moving the classes held in Montmartre from the rue Nicolet to a larger ...

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8. “Just Proportions”: Financial Anticlericalism and Rabbinical Space

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pp. 151-159

In September 1879, the administrative commission of the Séminaire Israélite sent a report to the Paris Consistory describing a general deterioration of the school’s academic program. Many of the problems, they wrote, resulted from circumstances beyond their control. The loss of Alsace and Lorraine in 1871, for example, had cut the school off from its main recruiting ground.1 ...

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pp. 160-166

This book has argued that Jewish integration in nineteenth-century France involved more than questions of assimilation. Throughout the century, consistorial leaders felt considerable pressure to conform to the standards of individual French regimes; these pressures became all the more acute as the consistorial education system increasingly depended upon civil authorities ...


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pp. 167-203


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pp. 205-219


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pp. 221-230

E-ISBN-13: 9780814335499
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814333808

Page Count: 240
Publication Year: 2009

Edition: 1
Volume Title: N/a

OCLC Number: 755622662
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Challenges of Equality

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Subject Headings

  • Judaism and state -- France -- History -- 19th century.
  • Judaism -- France -- History -- 19th century.
  • Jews -- France -- History -- 19th century.
  • Jews -- France -- Politics and government -- 19th century.
  • Rabbinical seminaries -- France -- History -- 19th century.
  • Jewish religious education of adults -- France -- History -- 19th century.
  • Rabbis -- Education -- France -- 19th century.
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