Topics: Main Topic: Identity and Community, Jewish Identity, Conversion, Ethnicity, Race, Minorities
Abstract: Converting to Judaism is possible, but not easy. What might be perceived as being particularly uncommon is the experience of a Black person going through the process of conversion to Judaism in France. Yet Black converts to Judaism are becoming increasingly visible, even though they have not been integrated as such in the self-perception of the Jewish community of France, let alone in the wider French society. One organisation established within the Jewish community of France is currently playing an important part in bringing French Black Jews out of obscurity — the Fraternité Judéo-Noire (Black-Jewish Brotherhood, hereafter FJN). Joining forces to form an organisation seems to have been the best option for these proselytes, whose ethnic profile is not in keeping with the traditional mapping of the French Jewish community as made up of Ashkenazim and Sephardim. This chapter will focus on French Black Jewish identity as experienced and related by African, West Indian, American or biracial converts. What factors have driven them to embrace Judaism at a time when the French media exhibit a marked tendency to expose the Black French as the new anti-Semites?