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[By: Ariel Scheib]

There were a few Jews who lived in Monaco prior to World War II. These Jews were predominately Ashkenazim from France. To save their Jewish citizens from Nazi persecution, the government issued false papers to the Jews during the war.

The Jewish community of Monaco was founded in 1948, with the creation of the official representative body, the Association Culturelle Israelite de Monaco. Today, the vast majority of the Jewish community lives in Monte Carlo. The community is mainly comprised of retired Jews from Britain (40%) and North Africa. Approximately 1,000 Jews live today in Monaco. There are also several Turkish and French Ashkenazi families. Half the population is Ashkenazi, while the other half are Sephardic.

The Association Culturelle Israelite de Monaco is a house that has been converted into a synagogue, a community Hebrew school, and kosher food shop, all located in Monte Carlo. The community does have a rabbi, Rabbi M. Isaac Amsellem, who leads weekly services and teaches classes. There are weekly services on Shabbat. Several organizations, including WIZO and B’nai B’rith, are active in the Jewish community of Monaco.

Israel has diplomatic relations with Monaco and is represented by its consul in Marseilles.

Sources: World Jewish Congress; Zaidner, Michael. Jewish Travel Guide 2000. Intl Specialized Book Service, 2000; AmyIsrael; CIA World FactBook

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