Francophonie and Sephardic Difference in the Postwar United States

in French Politics, Culture & Society

Drawing on archival material, oral interviews, and memoir literature, this article explores the changing meanings of France, the French language, and French colonialism for francophone Sephardic Jews who immigrated to the United States in the post-World War II years. Initially, both francophonie and a larger sense of connection to France and French culture were points of positive connection that set Jewish immigrants from the Muslim world apart from the Ashkenazic American mainstream. By the turn of the millennium, however, Sephardic francophonie in the United States had become largely attenuated. While this was due in part to demographic factors, it was also the result of changing attitudes towards France and francophonie on the part of both Sephardic immigrants and their descendants, as well the general American and American Jewish population more broadly.

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