Mandel, Arnold

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MANDEL, ARNOLD (1913–1987) French author and journalist. Of Polish immigrant parentage, Mandel was born in Strasbourg. A libertarian radical until World War ii, Mandel rediscovered his Jewish identity as a soldier in North Africa in 1940, and then in occupied France. He fled to Switzerland, where he was interned until 1944, after which he fought in the Maquis. From 1945, Mandel was one of the chief spokesmen for French Jewry. Under the influence of Samson Raphael *Hirsch and of ḥasidic mysticism, he returned to neo-Orthodoxy. His knowledge of Yiddish and of Jewish lore made him one of the few able interpreters of Yiddish literature in France. A prolific writer, Mandel defined the originality and distinctiveness of Jews – particularly French Jews – in the modern world. His works deal mainly with his search for identity in a gentile world, and with his intellectual and spiritual quest for a Judaism both modern and Orthodox. They include L'Homme-Enfant (1946); Chair à Destin (1948); Les Temps incertains (1950); Les Vaisseaux brûlés (1957); Le petit livre de la sagesse populaire juive (1963); La Voie du Hassidisme (1963); and Les Cent Portes (1968). Mandel contributed to most Franco-Jewish periodicals, particularly La Terre retrouvée, Evidences, and L'Arche.

[Pierre Aubery]