Eclaireuses et Eclaireurs israélites de France
The Eclaireuses et Eclaireurs israélites de France (EEIF, Jewish Guides and Scouts of France) is a Jewish Scouting and Guiding organization in France. It was founded in 1923 and serves about 4,000 members. The EEIF is a member of the Fédération du Scoutisme Français and of the International Forum of Jewish Scouts.
|Eclaireuses et Eclaireurs israélites de France
|Jewish Guides and Scouts of France
|Centre National EEIF
27 Avenue de Ségur
|Fédération du Scoutisme Français
The first Jewish Scout units in France were founded in 1923 in Versailles and in 1924 in Paris; the association Eclaireurs israélites de France (EIF) was founded in 1924. Jewish Guide units emerged also in the 1920s and were integrated in the Fédération Française des Eclaireuses (FFE; French Guides Federation) in 1928.
In 1939, the EIF were admitted to the Bureau inter-fédéral du scoutisme which coordinated the membership of the different French Scouting associations within the World Organization of the Scout Movement; the Guides within the FEE were members of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts through the Comité de liaison of the FFE and the Guides de France. In 1940, these two bodies reorganized and formed the Fédération du Scoutisme Français.
Despite the German occupation of France during World War II and the banning of all Jewish youth organizations in the occupied zone in August 1940, the EIF maintained their activities. When the Vichy regime requested the dissolution of the EIF in November 1941, the groups could continue their work under the aegis of Scoutisme Français until January 1943. Many older members of EIF joined the French resistance forming own units; they joined the Organisation juive de Combat in 1944. About 110 leaders of the EIF were killed in action or deported to the concentration camps.
The EIF and the Guides within the FFE resumed their public activities after World War II. In 1948, a group of leaders emigrated to Israel founding a kibbutz and supporting the foundation of the country.
In 1969, the Jewish Guides left the FFE joining the EIF. Thus, the association was renamed to Eclaireuses et Eclaireurs israélites de France.
- The two lions defend and protect the Torah. They traditionally symbolize the Jewish people.
- The Torah is symbolized by the Tables of the Law (the Ten Commandments).
- The fleur de lys, a symbol of Scouting and the membership in WOSM.
- The trefoil, the membership in WAGGGS, added when the association became mixed.
The association runs about 50 local groups in France, served by six regional councils, and one group in Montreal, Canada. Typically, a local group has at least one unit of each of the three younger branches.
The EEIdF works in four branches; all activities are coeducational:
- Alain Michel, Scouts, Juifs et Français: l'histoire des E.I. de 1923 aux années 80; Editions Elkana, Jerusalem 2003; ISBN 965-90579-0-3