"Outsiders" Come Inside
This was the situation for thousands of years until the eighteenth century, when the Enlightenment movement reached Europe. The movement attempted to break the stranglehold of Christianity, giving equal rights to all men, regardless of religion.
In December of 1789, during a discussion in the French National Assembly in which French Jews were granted equal rights, Count Stanislas de Clermont-Tonnere declared, "To the Jews as individuals, everything; to the Jews as a nation, nothing."
The Jews of Europe jumped at the opportunity to attain equality with a passion, hoping at long last to rid themselves of the "dislike of the unlike" phenomenon.
They shed their foreign dress, shaved off their beards, and attended universities and theaters. They adopted the language, culture and styles of their non-Jewish neighbors, and intermarried with them indiscriminately. They purged their prayers of any mention of the return to Zion. In short, they became more French than the French.