Alexander Aciman

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Can a Jew Love France?

I have spent my entire life trying to explain to people why I speak French, why I grew up speaking French with my father and grandparents, why at least half of my phone calls involve some shouting in French. “Are you French?” they’ll ask. “Sort of” is usually the best I can do.

My confusing family history and the reason I speak French begins in the 1860s, when Adolphe Crémieux, a Frenchman who would go on to become minister of justice, founded a Jewish organization called the Alliance Israélite Universelle and started what it called a “civilizing mission” aimed at teaching Middle Eastern Jews how to speak French and inducting them into French culture.…  Seguir leyendo »