Thursday, July 14, 2011
Bastille day signifies the liberation and emancipation of many individuals and groups as a result of the exuberant spirit of the French Revolution. Although the destruction of the Bastille Prison may not have special meaning for Jews, the result of both the revolution and the era of Napoleon was extraordinary change in the situation of Jews and Jewish communities throughout Europe. The debate about the inclusion of Jews in the "rights of men" included the immigrant Jewish spokesman Zalkind Hourwitz and the Abbe Grégoire. Their advocacy contributed to the creation of secular Judaism, as well as to the status and rights of Jewish individuals.