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Jews have contributed to all aspects of French culture and society and have excelled in finance, medicine, theater and literature.
Currently, France hosts Europe’s largest Jewish community - 480,000 strong - and Paris is said to have more kosher restaurants than even New York City.
Despite the persecution, Jews managed to remain active in money-lending and commerce.After the Second Crusade (1147-49), a long period of persecution began.French clergyman gave frequent anti-Semitic sermons. In some cities, such as Beziers, Jews were forced to pay a special tax every Palm Sunday.Jews were first permitted to reside in Belfort, the capital of the Belfort region in eastern France, in the 1300s.By the time of the Nazi occupation there were 700 Jews in the town, of which 245 were killed.