Jewish Francophonie: Culture and Literature





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FRANCOPHONIE JUIVE


SELECTED TOPICS IN FRENCH LITERATURE

and CULTURE

Jewish Francophonie: Culture and Literature

From the Nineteenth Century to the Present

Simone Monnier Clay Ph.D.


Fall 2007




Copyright: 1999-2005-2007

TABLE DES MATIERES
Chapitres
I Following a Different Beat
A. Cultural differences
..........................................................................p. 4

B. Jewish Music ....................................................................................p. 11

C. Background and History ……………………………………………………p. 18
II Emancipation and the XIXth Century
A. Chronology of Events ……………………………………………………….p. 41
B. Transition and Changes
………………………………………………….. p 43

C. Cultural Contributions......................................................................p. 51
III A History of Unrest

A. Chronology of Events ……………………………………………………….p. 68

B. The Dreyfus Affair ………………………………………………………….p. 71

C. Anti-Semitism and Anti-Semitic Publications …………………………….p. 93

D. A Divided France ………...................................................................p. 125
IV The Beginning of the Twentieth Century. The Belle Epoque

A. Chronology of Events ……………………………………………………… p. 130
B. The Early Twentieth Century Jewish Writers …………………………….p. 132
C. Marcel Proust …………………………………………………………………p. 134
V The Great War
A. Chronology of Events
.......................................................................p. 159
B. The War ……………………………………………………………………..p. 160
C. The Great War and the Jews ……………………………………………...p. 163
VI The Interwar Years
A. Chronology of Events
……………………………………………………...p. 167

B. The Interwar Period ………………………………………………………..p. 169
C. Anti-Semitism and Fascism ……………………………………………….p. 172

D. Emmanuel Levinas ……………………………………………………..….p. 175

E. Max Jacob …………………………………………………………………..p. 186

VII A World at War : WWII

A. Chronology of Events .....................................................................p. 190

B. The Second World War ...................................................................p. 197

C. The Role of Petain and Laval ...........................................................p. 206
VIII The Resistance and Charles de Gaulle

A. Chronology of Events ………………………………………………………p. 219

B. The Resistance in France ..................................................................p. 220

C. De Gaulle .......................................................................................p. 230

IX The Holocaust
A. Chronology of Events.......................................................................p. 233

B. WWII and the Holocaust …………………………………………………..p 238

C. The Holocaust and the Church……………………………………………..p. 243

D. The Righteous among the Nations …………………………………………p. 245


X The Survivors
A. Marc Chagall ……………………………………………………………..…p. 256

B. Elie Wiesel ……………………………………………………….…………..p, 257
XI War Crimes

A. Bringing Criminals to Justice ............................................................p. 260
XII Post World War II

A. Chronology of Events ……………………………………………………….p. 264

B. Jewish Writers ……………………………………………………………….p. 273

C. Revisionism and Modern-AntiSemitism ..............................................p. 275
XIII The End of French Colonialism

A. Chronology of Events ……………………………………………………….p. 278
B. The Jews of the Maghreb …………………..…………………………....…p. 282

C. France and Immigration from Africa and the Middle East………………p. 290

D. The Jews of Asia………………………………………………..…………….p. 297
XIV The End of French Colonialism

A. Chronology of Events ……………………………………………………….p. 278
B. The Jews of the Maghreb …………………..…………………………....…p. 282

C. France and Immigration from Africa and the Middle East………………p. 290

D. The Jews of Asia………………………………………………..…………….p. 297
XV Contemporary Jewish Francophone Literature

A. Prose ………………………………………………………………….……….p. 302
B. Theatre …………………..………………………………………………....…p. 303

C. Poetry …………………..………………………………………………......…p. 309

CHAPTER ONE

Following a Different Beat


A. Cultural differences (Calendar, alphabet, religion, dietary laws)
The word ‘Juif’ (in old French: Juiu, Juieu), derives from the Latin word ‘Judaeus’ (in Greek, 'Ioudaiov’), and it comes from the Hebrew word ‘Yehudi’. The word ‘Juif’ identifies people who came from the kingdom of Judea (940 to 586 B.C.E.)
Today, there are about 13 to 14 million Jews out of a world population of over six billion people.
The lunar calendar:
The calculation of the Jewish calendar was established for the Diaspora by rabbi Hillel in the 4th century C.E.

The rhythm of the Jewish calendar is ruled both by the sun and by the moon and is a lunisolar calendar. The basic unit of time is governed by the day. However, if for the western world a day begins in the middle of the night and lasts until the next midnight, as far as the Jewish calendar is concerned, a day begins after sundown and lasts until the following sunset. In this aspect, the Jewish day is ruled by the sun and the question arises concerning how to define the exact moment when one day ends and the next begins.

According to the rabbis, the new day begins at the moment when the sun sinks below the horizon. As a result, all Jewish holidays begin in the evening before the first day of the observance. This sets the evening preceding the day the beginning of the new calendar day.

The next unit of time in the Jewish calendar is established in the story of creation in Genesis 1:1-2:4, namely the seven-day week. According to Genesis, the week is firmly governed by a divine plan, in which a six-day workweek is followed by an ordained day of rest, the Sabbath. The week is meant to correspond to the four phases of the moon and four weeks make roughly a month. Then, twelve months make a year. However, the number of days counted in the twelve-month lunar year and the 365-day solar calendar do correspond exactly. In the Gregorian calendar, months have unequal numbers of days that do not correlate with the phases of the moon. As a result, in the Gregorian calendar, an extra day is inserted every four years (the leap year) in order to have the calendar reflect the solar year. In the lunar calendar, in order to coordinate the traditional lunar year with the solar year, a system of 19-year cycles has been organized, in which there are seven leap years. This means that approximately every three years an intercalary month is inserted.

The new month is determined with the observation of the new moon (Rosh Hodesh).

The Jewish calendar sets the rhythms of the Jewish holidays and is followed by Jews all over the world. It is also the official calendar of Israel.

Unlike the Jewish calendar, the Chinese calendar, the Tibetan calendar and some Hindu calendars, the Islamic calendar is strictly based on lunar months and is not coordinated with the solar year (it is not lunisolar). Consequently, holidays such as Ramadan occur at different seasons over the course of time.

To the Gregorian years 2005-2006 correspond the Jewish year 5766 (which begins with Rosh Hashanah in fall 2005).

(S.M.C. May 2005)

The Jewish calendar:
All Jewish rites observe the Jewish calendar: the Ashkenazic1 rite, the Sephardic2 rite, the rite of the Jews of Yemen, Ethiopia and other African countries.

The Jewish week centers around the Sabbath (Shabbat, the seventh day of the week, the day of rest), which begins before sundown on Friday evening and ends after sundown on Saturday night.


Name

Length in a

deficient year  

Length in a

regular year

Length in a

complete year 

Tishri

30

30

30

Heshvan

29

29

30

Kislev

29

30

30

Tevet

29

29

29

Shevat

30

30

30

Adar I

30

30

30

Adar II

29

29

29

Nisan

30

30

30

Iyar

29

29

29

Sivan

30

30

30

Tammuz

29

29

29

Av

30

30

30

Elul

29

29

29

Total:

353 or 383

354 or 384

355 or 385


The month Adar I is present only in leap years.

In non-leap years, there is no Adar II, and the month is simply called "Adar."
In a regular year the numbers 30 and 29 alternate; a complete year is created by adding a day to Heshvan, whereas a deficient year is created by removing a day from Kislev.
The alteration of 30 and 29 ensures that when the year starts with a new moon, so does each month.

The Calendar of Jewish Holidays:

 

Rosh Hashanah
Jewish New Year festival
book of Ezekiel

Tishri 1
Seventh month of the year.

Thurs-Friday
September 13-14, 2007

Yom Kippur
Dedicated to atonement and abstinence. Leviticus 23:27

Tishri 10

Saturday,
September 22, 2007



Succoth: Festival of Booths
Third of pilgrimage festivals

Tishri 15

Thurs Sept 27

-Wed. October 3

Sh’mini Atzeret
end of Succoth

Tishri 22

Thursday, October 4, 2007



Simchat Torah
Giving of the Torah

Tishri 23

Friday, October 5, 2007



Hanukah: Festival of lights
Liberation in the face of oppression

Kislev 25

Wed., December
5-12, 2007



Tu B’Shevat
Planting of trees

Shevat 15

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Purim
Book of Esther. Story telling how the Jews of Persia were saved from destruction

Adar II 14

Friday, Mar 21, 2008

Passover
Festival of freedom

Nisan 15

Sunday, Apr 20-27, 2008
Sun-Sun

Yom Hashoah
Holocaust commemoration

Nisan 27

Friday, May 2, 2008

Yom Haatzmaut
Israel’s Memorial Day

Iyyar 3

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Lag B'Omer
Break during weeks of semi-mourning.

Iyyar 18

Friday, May 23, 2008

Shavuot
Festival End of 7 weeks after Passover. Book of Ruth

Sivan 6

Mon-Tues, Jun 9-10, 2008

Tisha B'Av
Destruction of the Temple.

 Av 9

Sun, Aug 10, 2008

Erev Rosh Hashanah

Elul 29

Tues-Wed, Sep 30, Oct 1st, 2008


The Hebrew alphabet:

The Hebrew alphabet is a set of 22 letters written from right to left and it is used by the Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino and Judeo-Arabic languages. The origins of the characters of the Hebrew Alphabet are derived from the so-called Phoenician or Old Semitic letters which influenced all other alphabets, since the Greeks and the Romans adopted their alphabets from the Semites. The Torah, the Talmud, the Jewish prayer book (the Siddur3), a number of religious books and studies are written in the Hebrew alphabet. The Hebrew alphabet is sometimes identified by its first two letters and called the "alefbet”.


Religion and beliefs:
Are Jews members of a race or of various ethnic groups? Or, is Judaism a religion?

In the 1980s, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that Jews are a race. The purpose of this declaration was supposed to serve as a basis for anti-discrimination laws, and the reasoning was that many people identified Jews as members of the "Jewish race," just as African Americans were identified as members of the "Negro race," and the intent of the legislators was to protect members of all “races.” However, common ancestry is not a condition to be a Jew, and many people think of their Jewishness as an ethnicity since, in fact, Jews have varied origins. One of the ethnic groups of Jews is identified as the Ashkenazic Jews who have lived in Europe (and whose ancestors used to speak Yiddish). Those who can trace their ancestry to Spain are identified as Sephardic Jews (whose common language used to be Ladino). Then, there are the Jews who are from the Middle East, Iran or Yemen who are identified as Mizrahi Jews, and the Jews who come from African countries such as Ethiopia. Throughout the ages, Jews were considered to be a nation in exile, people who were referred to as “the Jewish nation” or the “children of Israel”.
Judaism is a monotheistic religion. In Judaism, Jews find guidance on how a Jew should live, but not all Jews share the same observances. The variety of observance in Judaism ranges from Traditional to liberal - it stretches from Orthodox Jews (including various Hasidic groups), to the Conservative movement, the Reconstructionists, and to the Reform movement.
In Judaism, actions are considered to be important. Judaism is not based on blind faith but on interpretations of the Torah, which is the first five books of the Hebrew Bible (i.e. the Tanakh comprising the Books of Moses). The Torah contains 613 commandments that the Jews are supposed to follow and throughout history, the rabbis have instituted laws surrounding these commandments.

There are three daily religious services: The morning service, (Shaharit), the afternoon service (Minha) and the evening service (Maariv).
The main Jewish sacred texts are:


The Torah (the Five Books of Moses, the Pentateuch or the Hebrew Bible4) and its commentaries;


The Talmud
:

-The Palestinian Talmud (350 C.E.)

-The Babylonian Talmud (500 C.E.)


The Talmud is compendium of rabbinical discussions on Jewish law, ethics and stories. The Talmud comprises two components: the Mishnah (the recording of oral law [the halakha] started by Judah haNasi in 200 C.E.) and the Gemara (commentaries and analysis of the Mishnah undertaken in the Academies of Palestine and Babylon from around 300 C.E. to about 500 C.E.). One of the greatest Torah and Talmud commentators was Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaki)–(1040-1105) who lived in France. Rashi also wrote Responsa and composed a number of Piyyutim or religious poems. Rashi’s disciples were known as the Tosaphists (Va’alei ha-Tosafot, meaning “additions”) who settled in France and Germany during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Another great French Talmud scholar was Rabbi Ravad (Rabbi Avraham ben David of Pousquières)-(1120-1198). Then, during the second half of the fourteenth century, we find Rabbi Remah (Rabbi Meir Halevi) and Rabbi Maharil (Rabbi Ya’akov ben Moshe Halevi Molin)-(c. 1360-1427), two sages of the Franco-German tradition.


The Mishneh Torah or Yad ha-Chazaka, which is a code of Jewish law compiled by Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon who lived between 1135 and 1204 and was also known as Maimonides5 or by the Hebrew abbreviation RaMBaM. The Mishneh Torah was compiled between 1170 and 1180 CE. Maimonides lived in Cordoba in Spain and then moved to Cairo. There, he produced one of his greatest philosophical works, the Moreh Nevukhim (tr., Guide for the Perplexed), written in Arabic.


The Shulkhan Arukh
(Hebrew: "Prepared Table"), written by Rabbi Yosef Karo (born in Spain in1488 and died in Safed in1575) which is considered to be the most authoritative compilation of Jewish law since the Talmud. It is the main authoratitive source of halakha (Jewish law and custom) and often referred to as the Code of Jewish Law.
Various Rabbinic literature. Such as the works of Rashi and the Tosaphists or Rabbi Hayyim Vital (1543-1620) who lived in Safed in Palestine and studied with the greatest sages of Safed. He was the closed disciple of Rabbi Isaac Luria (1574-1572), one of the greatest Jewish mystics of all times who also was the founder of Lurianic Kabbalah..
The Siddur. The prayer book. “The Siddur not only continues to function today; it is in addition the only authentic, original sourcebook of the Jewish religion still comprehensible to Jews.6” A number of the prayers were written a long time ago (some are written in Aramaic) and are linked to the service of the Temple, devotion and particular historical circumstances. To understand the prayers, most people require a translation of the prayer book.

Most of the prayers are written in prose style and some were written in poetical forms (the piyyutim.7)

The Ashkenazic rite finds its origins in France; however, the first Prayer Book was organized by Rav Amam (d. 875) of the Sura Academy of Babylon around 865 C.E. Later, the Siddur was standardized mostly by Saadia Gaon (b. 882)one of the ‘payetanim8” of the Palestinian school, who, during his travels, compiled and organized the Prayer Book. “He included not only the traditional prayers but many new liturgical poems by leading poets of his time.9” One of the greatest religious poets was Rabbi Eleazar ha-Kallir who lived in Palestine between the sixth and seventh centuries.

At the beginning of the tenth century, the Jews living in Arabic speaking countries developed poetry based on Arabic meters.
Jewish dietary laws: Kashrut


The Torah defines the laws of Kashrut.

Kashrut is the bulk of Jewish law dealing with what foods observant Jews can and cannot eat; how foods must be prepared as well as eaten. The word "Kashrut" or “kosher” comes from the Hebrew meaning “fit,” “proper” or “correct.” The word "kosher" is also used, to describe ritual objects that are made in accordance with Jewish law and are fit for ritual use.

Food that does not abide by the laws of “kashrut” is referred to as “treyf “(i.e. “torn,” from the commandment not to eat animals that have been torn by other animals).

Kashrut is based on the following principles:


1. Certain animals (who do not chew their cud or have cloven hooves) may not be eaten at all. This restriction includes everything relating to the forbidden animals.

2. Among the animals that may be eaten, poultry and mammals must be killed in accordance with Jewish law (Deut. 12:21). Animals that died of natural causes (Deut. 14:21) or that were killed by other animals cannot be eaten. In addition, the animal must have no disease or flaws in the organs at the time of slaughter. However, these restrictions do not apply to fish but only to flocks and herds (Num. 11:22).

3. All blood must be entirely drained from the meat. No blood can be consumed.
4. Certain parts of permitted animals may not be eaten. (The sciatic nerve and its adjoining blood vessels may not be eaten).

5. The meat of animals (poultry or mammals) cannot be consumed with dairy products. As stated in a 1912 advertising campaign introducing kosher vegetable shortening, “The Hebrew race has been waiting 4000 years for Crisco.”

6. Fish, eggs, fruits, vegetables and grains can be eaten with either meat or dairy. (Fish is not served on a plated that held meat).

6. Separate utensils are used for cooking and serving meat and for cooking and serving dairy. Utensils that have come into contact with non-kosher food may not be used with kosher food. (This applies where the contact occurred while the food was hot).

7. Grape products made by non-Jews may not be consumed.

8. During the eight days of Passover, the sets of dishes and ustensils that are used are set aside during the remainder of the year.

9. During Passover, bread is not eaten, and regular flours are not used.


===============================================================

Sujets de discussion
1. Identifiez les mots suivants :

Que veut dire le mot Juif?

Torah

Siddur

Talmud
2. Le calendrier juif est lunaire ou solaire?
3. Nommez les mois du calendrier juif.
4. Comment s’appelle le nouvel an juif ? Quand est-ce que cette fête est célébrée ?
5. Il y a combien de mois dans le calendrier juif?

En quel mois du calendrier juif sommes-nous en ce moment?

Quelles sont les fêtes juives célébrées en automne ?

Quelles sont les fêtes juives célébrées au printemps ?

Qu’est-ce qui est particulier au mois ADAR ?


6. Nommez trois principes de la nourriture casher.
7. Combien de différents alphabets pouvez-vous nommer ?
8. Que savez-vous de l’alphabet hébreu ?

B. La musique juive (Jewish Music)

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