Judaism - the French connection

Mar 2010
That Jews should think about Jewishness in a way that is disconnected from religious rituals is a very modern phenomenon. "Modern" in this context - the life of a people whose history goes back more than three millennia --- refers to the era that began on September 27, 1791, in Paris, at the National Assembly.

The two-year process of writing a constitution that began weeks after the fall of the Bastille was coming to an end. The question of what to do about France's Ashkenazi Jewish community had occupied legislators early in the process but had been adjourned. Giving Jews the rights of citizens in the new France was too controversial.

For many, a Jew was a Jew, a Frenchman was a Frenchman. Then, on September 27, with most constitutional business settled, Adrien DuPort stood up to say: "I believe freedom of worship does not allow for any distinction in political rights among citizens because of their beliefs. The question of the Jews was adjourned… I demand that adjournment be revoked and it be decided that the Jews of France enjoy the rights of active citizens."

Duport's motion carried; all the Jews of France were granted the rights of active citizenship. They were emancipated. The ghettos of Alsace and Lorraine were opened. By 1805, Napoleon had carried emancipation over the Alps into Italy and then eastwards across continental Europe.

When the ghetto gates opened, the Jews stepped out and the identity question crept into Jewish life. Almost immediately, a reformation of the practice of religion began in the German-speaking lands. "Why not make our worship more like that of our neighbours", the reforming Jews asked. "Let us prove we are not a nation within the nation".

Interesting. Thoughts?

[Crusher: Edit: Truncated for Copyright issues]
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Mar 2018
I think it is just amazing that a person can feel comfortable in his/her own degree of Judaism. I am friends with people who show their Jewish faith in different degrees. I personally feel the connection as more of spiritual and love of traditions. I had a Bat Mitzvah only recently as an adult ...Bnai Mitzvah, with 3 other adults. I had recently learned Hebrew and took adult classes for Bible study. Since I did it by choice, it was one of the highlights of my life. I go to Temple a couple times a month, feeling recharged in its beauty. I feel very fortunate to have choices.
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