Progressive Judaism in France

in European Judaism
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  • 1 Union Juive Libérale de Strasbourg
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Abstract

Progressive Judaism became institutionalized in 1907 with the inauguration of the Union Libérale Israélite synagogue in Paris. During the nineteenth century, although Reform ideas were discussed and in some cases implemented (e.g. use of organ, reduction of piyutim), the Central Consistory prevented the creation of an independent Progressive synagogue. Today, the Progressive movement in France is relatively underdeveloped, with thirteen synagogues, full-time rabbis serving only Parisian congregations and no national movement structure. In recent years, however, there have been some positive developments such as the creation of a rabbinical body of French-speaking Progressive rabbis, an annual summer camp and the Moses Mendelssohn Foundation to promote Progressive Judaism. As French Jewry faces major challenges such as the persistence of a virulent form of anti-Semitism and the departure of thousands of active French Jews each year to Israel, the USA, Canada and elsewhere, Progressive Jews in France ask themselves what the future holds for them.

Contributor Notes

Ordained by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 1986, Rabbi Stephen Berkowitz serves the UJLS (Strasbourg), Bet Shalom (Barcelona) and the Javura Reformista de Madrid.

European Judaism

A Journal for the New Europe

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