Page 53 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 41

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Unlike the ir American coun terparts, French university courses
create little dem and for readers and anthologies. Few inexpen ­
sive paperbacks are published. T he re is no wide studen t market.
Jewish community centers do not generally maintain an
upda ted library, due mostly to lack o f funds and sustained sup ­
port. Even Jewish day schools have no such facility. Most books
are bough t by individuals and not by institutions. Most titles are
p r in ted only once.
T he French Jewish community is full o f vitality and dynamism,
thanks to the North African immigration. But the active Jewish
community consists o f a core o f some 100,000, and the interest in
Jewish values and Jewish books stems from them exclusively. Jew ­
ish classics are only now being translated (Franz Rosenzweig,
Stern der Erloesung;
Hess,Rom undJerusalem,
both in 1982).
T he French rabbinate recently completed the French translation
o f the Mishnah and is working on the translation o f the complete
Babylonian Talmud .
Jews are well in tegrated into French culture and accept its
values. During the past two decades, French society has been
more open than ever to the cultural expression o f minorities,
both ethnic and regional, and the Jewish community has bene­
fited from this new trend . However, there is no Jewish literature
in France tha t is written by Jews and read primarily by Jews. It is
more accurate to speak in France o f Jewish themes in French lit­
e ra tu re written on by Jews, for whom French standards are p r i­
mary. Nevertheless, this may duly be considered to be a Jewish
contribution to literature.