France and the Jews: History of a Love/Hate Relationship

Ohr Kodesh Congregation

Dates: Monday, October 13, 2014
Time: 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Speaker: Dr. Lisa Leff

Since the time of the Revolution, French attitudes toward the Jews are a study in contrasts, a sort of love/hate relationship.  On the one hand, it’s been a place of great opportunity and success. The first country to make its Jews equal citizens, French Jews have been visibly successful in many areas of pubic life; indeed, France has had more Jewish leaders—including two Presidents—than any other country except Israel.  And yet there is a darker side to the relationship as well.  At the end of the nineteenth century and again during World War II, millions of Frenchmen embracedhateful antisemitism.  To read today’s news, antisemitsm remains an important feature of French political life, but any visitor to Paris can tell you that Jewish culture is also thriving there. 

Why the ambivalence?  In this talk, Professor Leff will explore the contours of this “love-hate relationship” from the French Revolution to the present, and in her analysis, will show how France’s treatment of its Jews has reflected on its distinct—and ever evolving—model of secularism.

This program is made possible by the generosity of the Wagner-Braunsberg Family Foundation.



Program will be held at and co-sponsored by:


Ohr Kodesh Congregation
8300 Meadowbrook Lane
Chevy Chase, MD 20815
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