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Proselytism in ‘Jewish Worlds’?


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The Jewish world is no exception to the major trends of contemporary religiosity marked by intensified faith-related circulation, which has expressed itself worldwide by a significant rise in conversions involving both individuals who knock on the doors of Jewish institutions to become Jewish, as well as Jews raised with no religious reference who make teshuva—who entirely reorganize their lives around the Torah. This article will explore the effects that this religiosity of conversion has had on the historic institution of French Judaism. It will notably show how the Consistoire central de France (The Israelite Central Consistory of France) shifted, beginning in the late 1980s, from a logic of representation to a logic of mission aiming to “re-Judaicize French Jews,” which notably translated into its increasing closure to external conversions and emphasis on the figure of the baal teshuva. This article will argue that the transition from a logic of representation to one of internal proselytism not only did not strengthen the institution, but on the contrary largely contributed to making it into a satellite organization thanks to a French-speaking ultra-Orthodox network seeking to transform this religious mobility into geographical mobility by encouraging converts to move to Israel.




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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

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Tank-Storper, Sébastien Proselytism in ‘Jewish Worlds’?. Missions and Preaching: Connected and Decompartmentalised Perspectives from the Middle East and North Africa (19th-21st Century). 2022: 42–66.  https://archive.jpr.org.uk/10.1163/9789004449633_004