November 28, 2007

Today in Jewish History - Kislev 18

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In 1793, the French district of Strasbourg, Alsace-Lorraine passed an anti-Jewish law prohibiting circumcision and the wearing of beards. It also ordered the burning of books written in Hebrew. The French Revolution, born of the ideals of Enlightenment, had become the first society to emancipate the Jews, permitting them to enter the highest levels of government and finance. Yet all the talk of "equality" did not stop Voltaire from singling out the Jews as "the most abominable people in the world." The invective gained expression in the 1940s when the French Vichy regime took the initiative to round up and hand over 61,000 Jews to the Nazis.