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The Alliance Isra lite Universelle, a French-Jewish organization foundedin 1860, occupies a crucial place in the history of Sephardi communities in themodern period. In the fifty years after its creation, the Alliance established avast network of schools in the lands of Islam for the purpose of "civilizing" thelocal Jewish communities and remaking them in the idealized self-image of FrenchJewry.
This study, drawing on the author's extensive research inthe archives of the Alliance in Paris, focuses on the work of the Alliance amongTurkish Jewry, one of the communities most strongly affected by the organizations'activities. Although the Alliance played a conclusive role in the Westernization ofTurkish Jews, it was also the unwitting catalyst for the emrgence of new politicalmovements such as Zionism, which turned away from the Alliance's ideology andultimately threatened the survival of its schools. This book illuminates animportant episode in the history of Sephardi and French Jewries as they interactedthrough the Alliance Isra lite Universelle and draws important conclusions aboutthe transformation of European as well as Middle Eastern Jewries in the modernera.
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