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Due to the tombstone desecration incidents in the cemetery in Carpentras, head line stories in early 1990 furnished quantities of information on the long his tory of the Jews in France. Starting from the Roman period, we are told all the usual ups and downs-mostly the downs, with the forced baptisms, expulsions, slaugh ters, accusations, and disasters that Jewish history everywhere features. The ups are the moments when Jewish learn ing and literary efforts flourished, as in the 11th century in Troyes, where Rashi was France's—and perhaps Judaism's greatest commentator on the Bible and Talmud. The newspapers mentioned the emancipation of 1791; the Dreyfus trial in 1894; Leon Blum, the first Jewish prime minister of France; the battleground of the Second World War; and the perpetual battle and tenacity of being Jewish.
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