By Jeffrey Haus
Historians have more often than not characterised nineteenth-century French Jewry as mostly wanting to assimilate, or, not less than, passively accommodating to assimilation, with simply the main conventional Jews rejecting the trimmings of French tradition. in the course of the lens of Jewish basic and rabbinical schooling, writer Jeffrey Haus indicates that even built-in French Jews sought to set limits on assimilation and struggled to maintain a feeling of Jewish uniqueness in France. demanding situations of Equality argues that Jewish leaders couched their perspectives in phrases that the govt might comprehend and settle for, portraying a Judaism in keeping with the target of cultural and political unification of the French state. whilst, their academic actions asserted the lifestyles of distinctively Jewish cultural house.
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Extra info for Challenges of Equality: Judaism, State, and Education in Nineteenth-Century France
62 Unable to assist every school, French ofﬁcials repeatedly rejected consistorial attempts to transform the state from policy-maker to funding source. The Restoration government instead selectively supported those institutions it found most useful in advancing civic goals. Consequently, Jewish schools seeking funds had to move their programs closer to general French guidelines. Satisfying utilitarian criteria thus became essential to promoting speciﬁcally Jewish education to government ofﬁcials who did not immediately acknowledge the need for separate Jewish schools.
Of these seven, only four communal governments aided Jewish education: Haguenau, Wissembourg, Soultz, and Bischeim. 20 Larger Jewish communities also had trouble obtaining civic funding, even when public ofﬁcials supported their efforts. Cottard reported in 1831 that even in Strasbourg, which had a relatively large Jewish population, the well-run Jewish school faced certain closure without government aid. 21 Local ofﬁcials also took direct action to undercut Jewish schooling. In 1834, for example, the Nancy Consistory petitioned the Ministry of Education for ﬁnancial aid to keep its school open.
47 Beyond its educational implications, Préameneu’s reply called into question Judaism’s civic function. His suggestion that rabbis move religious 20 Foundations lessons to the synagogue demarcated a speciﬁc, moral sphere in which Judaism could become involved in French education. The municipal, or “common,” schools represented distinctively French space because they received public funding and political authorization. Their overwhelmingly Catholic character, in Préameneu’s opinion, reinforced their French quality; Judaism, however, did not possess an equal claim to that space.
Challenges of Equality: Judaism, State, and Education in Nineteenth-Century France by Jeffrey Haus