An Uncertain Future: Voices of a French Jewish Community, 1940-2012

An Uncertain Future: Voices of a French Jewish Community, 1940-2012




This contemporary oral history, based on interviews conducted over an 18-year period, is the first of its kind in English. The interviews, some repeated with the same subjects over years, demonstrate how the Jewish community of Dijon has evolved over time in response to challenges both internal and external.

The authors provide an introduction to the series of interviews as well as a detailed history of the community. A chronology, a map of Dijon, and photos of many interviewees are included. The book also provides an update on recent events in the community, a suggested reading list, and a bibliography.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442605589
Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Higher Education Division
Publication date: 08/15/2012
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 6.25(w) x 9.35(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Robert I. Weiner is the Thomas Roy and Laura Forrest Jones Professor of History and Jewish Chaplain at Lafayette College. He has authored numerous articles on French, European, and Jewish history and is the author of The Long 19th Century: European History from 1789 to 1917 (2005).

Richard E. Sharpless is Professor Emeritus of History at Lafayette College. He is the author of books and numerous articles in American and Latin American history.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements ix

Preface: Why Dijon? xi

Introduction: Meet Jewish Dijon xvii

Chronology xxxi

Map of Central Dijon with Major Jewish Sites xxxix

Speaking About Jewish Life in Dijon: Interviews

The Synagogue Center

Community Leaders

Rabbi Simon Sibony 3

Cathie Bussidan 23

Israel "Izy" Cemachovic 34

Albert Huberfeld 48

Francoise Tenenbaum 62

Survivors of the Holocaust

Bébé Edelman 84

Marcelle David 88

Nadia Kaluski 100

Community Members

Deborah Bensoussan 112

Luna Cemachovic 120

Alain Danino 131

Isabelle Danino 137

Malou Dressier 146

Annie Edelman and Maurice "Gislain" Bensoussan 153

Alain Grynberg 176

Elie Sadigh 186

Jennifer Taieb 197

The Lubavitch Group

Haim Slonim and Hannah Slonim 224

David Laufer 230

Marcel and Leah Tobis 239


Jean-David and Arielle Attal 246

Alex Miles 256

Babette Miles 267

Writing About Jewish Life in Dijon: Mazal Tov

Introduction 278

Mazal Tov Articles 279

Conclusion: An Uncertain Future 301

Glossary and Abbreviations 309

Suggested Reading 315

Bibliography 317

Index 329

What People are Saying About This

Irwin Wall

A unique and original account of a typical French provincial Jewish community and its challenges from the postwar period to the present. Through the use of interviews and other direct sources from Dijon Jewry, the authors have managed to construct an invaluable portrait of a community facing local problems of a particular kind but also exemplifying virtually all the problems facing French Jewry today.

Susan A. Ashley

An unusual insider portrait of a Jewish community in continual transition. The interviews as well as articles taken from the local Jewish newspaper offer rich materials for understanding Jewish identity in contemporary France.

James Collins

In An Uncertain Future, Robert I. Weiner and Richard E. Sharpless have acrobatically balanced the sympathy of the caring friend and the detachment of the professional historian to create the best study of provincial Jewish life in contemporary France. The interviews show the devastating personal impact of international events and offer unparalleled insights into the complex relationship of Muslims and Jews. An Uncertain Future is essential reading for any course on contemporary Jewish history or contemporary France, and a welcome addition to all classes on today's Europe.

Bertram M. Gordon

An Uncertain Future is a fascinating collection of testimonies from the Jews in Dijon about the joys and sorrows of their lives and those of their families in twentieth-century France. Readers will be engaged and moved by the autobiographical accounts of these decent people struggling with the Holocaust and its legacies and their continuing efforts to carve out lives in a France again witness to the specter of anti-Semitism.

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