History of the Jews in Algeria
The History of the Jews in Algeria refers to the history of the Jewish community of Algeria, which dates to the 1st century CE. In the 14th century, many Spanish Jews moved to Algeria; among them were respected Jewish scholars, including Isaac ben Sheshet (Ribash) and Simeon ben Zemah Duran (Rashbatz).
Following Algerian independence in 1962, almost all of Algeria's Jews, having been granted French citizenship in 1870, left with the pied-noirs. The vast majority moved to France, and the rest moved to Israel. Those who remained resided mostly in Algiers, while some settled in Blida, Constantine, and Oran. In the 1990s, the trials of Algerian Civil War led to the emigration of most of the remaining Jews. Two decisive events were the rebel Armed Islamic Group's 1994 declaration of war on all non-Muslims in the country, and the abandonment of the Algiers synagogue that year.
There is evidence of a Jewish presence in Algeria since at least the late Roman period. Early descriptions of the Rustamid capital, Tahert, note that Jews were found there, as they would be in any other major Muslim city. Centuries later, the Geniza Letters (found in Cairo) mention many Algerian Jewish families.
However, in the seventh century, the Jewish population was significantly augmented by Spanish Jewish immigrants fleeing from the persecutions of the Visigothic king Sisebut and his successors. The Spanish immigrants escaped to the Maghreb and settled in cities in the Byzantine Empire. Later settlers, forced from Spain by the Spanish Inquisition, followed the Reconquista. Together with the Moriscos, they thronged to the ports of North Africa, forming large communities in places such as Oran and Algiers. Some Jews in Oran preserved their Ladino language—a uniquely conservative dialect of Spanish—until the 19th century. Jewish merchants did very well financially in late Ottoman Algiers; the French attack on Algeria was provoked by the Dey's demands that the French government pay its large outstanding wheat debts to two Jewish merchants. In the 17th century, "Granas" (Jews from Livorno, Italy) started settling in Algeria. They were highly involved in commercial trading and exchanges between Europe and the Ottoman Empire, reinforcing the Jewish community.
After their conquest in 1830, the French government rapidly restructured the Ottoman millet system. While Muslims resisted the French occupation, some Algerian Jews aided in the conquest, serving as interpreters or suppliers. At the time, the French government distinguished French citizens (who had national voting rights and were subject to French laws and conscription) from Jewish and Muslim "indigenous" people, who each kept their own laws and courts. By 1841, the Jewish rabbinical courts (beth din), which the French Jews deemed corrupt,[dubious ] were placed under French jurisdiction—the Consistoire Central of Paris. Regional Algerian courts--consistoires—were put in place, operating under French oversight. In 1845, the communal structure was thoroughly reorganized, and French Jews were appointed as chief rabbis for each region, with the duty "to inculcate unconditional obedience to the laws, loyalty to France, and the obligation to defend it". Such oversight was an example of the French Jews' attempt to "civilize" Jewish Algerians. This marked a change in the Jewish "relationship with the state," as they were separated from the Muslim court system, where they had previously been dhimmis, or protected people. As a result, French Jews attempting to settle in Algeria were met with some resistance, ranging from rioting to refusal to allow French Jewish burials in Algerian Jews' cemeteries. In 1865, liberal conditions were laid down in the Senatus-Consulte so that Jewish and Muslim "indigenous" people could become French citizens if they requested it. Few did so, however, since French citizenship required renouncing certain traditional mores, and thus was perceived as a kind of apostasy.
The French government granted the Jews French citizenship in 1870 under the décrets Crémieux. For this reason, they are sometimes incorrectly categorized as pieds-noirs. This decision was due largely to pressures from prominent members of the liberal, intellectual French Jewish community, which considered the North African Jews to be "backward" and wanted to forcefully bring them into modernity. Thus the French Jews advocated for a more European mindset for their Algerian counterparts. Within a generation, most Algerian Jews came to speak French rather than Arabic or Ladino despite initial resistance, and they embraced many aspects of French culture. In embracing "Frenchness," the Algerian Jews joined the side of the colonizers, although they remained "other". Although some took on more typically European occupations, for example, "the majority of Jews were poor artisans and shopkeepers catering to a Muslim clientele." Moreover, conflicts between Jewish religious law and French law produced contention at first, particularly surrounding domestic issues, such as marriage. http://cjs.ucsc.edu/events/joshua-schreier/
The Holocaust in Algeria, Under the pro-Nazi Vichy regime 
In 1931, whereas Jews made up less than 2% of Algeria's population, the largest cities of Algeria—Algiers, Constantine, and Oran—had Jewish populations of over 7%, as did many smaller cities such as Ghardaia and Setif. One smaller town, Messad, had a Jewish majority.
Traditional dress 
According to the Jewish Encyclopedia,
A contemporary [in 1906] Jewess of Algiers wears on her head a "takrita" (handkerchief), is dressed in a "bedenor" (gown with a bodice trimmed with lace) and a striped vest with long sleeves coming to the waist. The "mosse" (girdle) is of silk. The native Algerian Jew wears a "ṭarbush" or oblong turban with silken tassel, a "ṣadriyyah" or vest with large sleeves, and "sarwal" or pantaloons fastened by a "ḥizam" (girdle), all being covered by a mantle, a burnus, and a large silk handkerchief, the tassels of which hang down to his feet. At an earlier stage the Algerian Jewess wore a tall cone-shaped hat resembling those used in England in the fifteenth century.
Notable Algerian Jews 
- Jean-Pierre Bacri, an actor
- Maurice Benayoun, an artist
- Michel Benita, a double bass player
- José Aboulker, member of the anti-Nazi resistance
- Franck Amsallem, jazz pianist and composer
- Yvan Attal, film director, actor (Algerian parents)
- Jacques Attali, economist, writer
- Baruj Benacerraf, immunologist, Nobel prize (1980) (Algerian mother)
- Paul Benacerraf, philosopher (Algerian mother)
- Jean Benguigui, actor
- Richard Berry, actor
- Lili Boniche, musician
- Patrick Bruel, singer, actor
- Alain Chabat, actor
- André Chouraqui, writer
- Élie Chouraqui, French film director and scriptwriter
- Hélène Cixous, feminist writer
- Robert Cohen, boxer: World Bantamweight Champion
- Annie Cohen-Solal, academic and biographer of Jean-Paul Sartre
- Claude Cohen-Tannoudji, physicist, Nobel prize (1997)
- Jean-François Copé, (Algerian mother), President of the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) Group in the French National Assembly
- Daniel Bensaïd, philosopher and trotskyist (Jewish Algerian father)
- Cy Curnin, lead singer of The Fixx (Jewish Algerian mother, non-Jewish father)
- Gérard Darmon, actor
- Jacques Derrida, deconstructionist philosopher
- Jean-Pierre Elkabbach, journalist
- Alphonse Halimi, boxer: World Bantamweight Champion
- Roger Hanin, film actor & director
- Bernard-Henri Lévy, philosopher
- Claude Lelouch, film director (Algerian father)
- Enrico Macias, singer
- Reinette L'Oranaise, singer
- Martial Solal, jazz pianist and composer
- Benjamin Stora, historian
- Patrick Timsit, humorist, actor
- Eric Zemmour, journalist
- Claude Zidi, film director
- Marlène Jobert, an actress
- Danny Ayalon, a politician
- Alon Abutbul, an actor
- Françoise Atlan, French singer.
See also 
- "Jews of Algeria, [[Jewish Virtual Library]]". Jewishvirtuallibrary.org. 2000-09-05. Retrieved 2012-06-10. Wikilink embedded in URL title (help)
- Karen B. Stern, Inscribing devotion and death: archaeological evidence for Jewish populations of North Africa, Bril, 2008, p.88
- "Algeria". JewishEncyclopedia.com. Retrieved 2012-06-10.
- "The Edict of Expulsion of the Jews - 1492 Spain". Sephardicstudies.org. Retrieved 2012-06-10.
- Friedman, Elizabeth. Colonialism & After. South Hadley, Massachusetts: Bergen, 1988. Print.
- Stillman, Norman. "The Nineteenth Century and the Impact of the West / Social Transformations". The Jews of Arab Lands in Modern Times. The Jewish Publication Society. Archived from the original on August 28, 2006. Retrieved January 5, 2012.
- "Costume". JewishEncyclopedia.com. Retrieved 2012-06-10.
- Resources>Jewish communities>Magreb The Jewish History Resource Center, Project of the Dinur Center for Research in Jewish History, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
- Zlabia.com French site for Jews of Algerian origins
- Rabbis of Algeria
- Algeria Sephardim Deported from France or Executed in France during WWII (PDF)
- The Jewish Community of Oran, Algiers
- Documents from Old Jewish Algeria
- The Jewish Population of Algeria in 1931