Article by Milo Lévy-Bruhl

2022 marks the 100th anniversary of Marcel Proust’s death. For the occasion, the “Jewish side” of the author of In Search of Lost Time is the focus of unprecedented attention. The Museum of Jewish Art and History (mahJ) in Paris is showcasing an exhibition “Marcel Proust. Du côté de la mère” (on display through 28 August), whose principal academic advisor is Antoine Compagnon. The professor at the Collège de France has published a book entitled Marcel Proust du côté juif (Marcel Proust: From the Jewish Side) devoted to analyses of the work that have focused on its “Jewish” aspect. After reading this excellent work, Milo Lévy-Bruhl presents Proust from a new angle: as a product of the competing impulses in modern Judaism of return and emancipation.

The term “Israélite” has recently come back into the news following its repeated use by a polemicist-cum-presidential candidate in the French elections. However, the Israélite model that he claims to embody has nothing to do with the reality of what Israélitisme was. Through a vibrant tribute to Marcel Wormser, recently deceased, and to his father, Georges Wormser, Milo Lévy-Bruhl recovers the essence of this pre-war French Jewish phenomenon and discusses the reasons for its ultimate disappearance.

Discussions agitated the French revolution in the winter of 1789 when it was decided to examine the case of the Jews. The question that preoccupied the Assembly was simple: could Jews be citizens like any others? “Yes!” replied Clermont-Tonnerre and Abbé Grégoire. Not yet,” said the Prince de Broglie, “but never,” said Monseigneur de la Touraine. Never,” affirmed Monseigneur de la Fare…

As Minister of the Interior during the presidency of François Hollande, Bernard Cazeneuve had to deal with the wave of attacks in 2015. An interview about the threats to the Jews of France and the attacks they suffered, as well as his conception of the Republic and the relationship of Jews to it … >>>

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