Yves Jeuland’s masterful, sweeping 2007 documentary, Being Jewish in France (“Comme un Juif en France”) explores the rich and complex history of Jews in France, the first country to grant Jews citizenship. Beginning with Revolutionary cries of Vive la France in Yiddish, the film explores the explosive Dreyfus Affair, the Vichy government’s collaboration with the Nazis, and the absorption of Sephardic Jews from Arab countries in the decades after World War II. Being Jewish in France continues into the 21st century, investigating charges of rising anti-semitism and the country’s complex attitudes toward Israel.
B’nai Sholom will be showing this 185-minute French language film with English subtitles over four successive Tuesday evenings beginning March 8 and ending March 29. Classes run from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Participants will gain insights into the history of Jews living in France; the complex state of relations between French Jews and their non-Jewish French neighbors, and current events in France.
The course will led by Richard Fogarty, Associate Professor of History and Associate Dean for General Education, University at Albany. Professor Fogarty will lecture, show segments, and encourage discussion and debate about the ideas presented in the film. Included will be events such as the immigration of thousands of Jews from Algeria to France in the 1960s; shifting French policies and views toward Israel, and other background that may not be as well known to most Americans. He will conclude by reviewing events that occurred subsequent to the making of the film.
Professor Fogarty received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara. His research areas include Europe; France; imperialism; war, race and racism; national identity; and World War I. His book, Race and War in France: Colonial Subjects in the French Army, 1914-1918, winner of Phi Alpha Theta’s Best First Book Prize, examines racial attitudes and colonial and military polices during the First World War. Professor Fogarty is also a recipient of the University at Albany’s College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Teaching.
Being Jewish in France is open to the public. Fee for the four-session course is $40 ($27 for B’nai Sholom members), and registration is required. The film Being Jewish in France is provided by the National Center for Jewish Film.
Founded in 1971, B’nai Sholom Reform Congregation in Albany is a home for contemporary Reform Judaism in the Capital Region, creating a vibrant Jewish present that links ancient traditions with the promise of the future. Nearly 130 diverse households from eight counties seek religious, educational and social fulfillment at B’nai Sholom. For information about B’nai Sholom and the benefits of belonging, visit www.bnaisholomalbany.org or contact the B’nai Sholom office at 518-482-5283 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Film images courtesy of The National Center for Jewish Film