The Schmooze

A Passover Nightmare

It’s Passover time, and a heady mix of liberation, freedom and matzah fills the air. While we recount the tale of the Children of Israel’s escape from Egypt, a strange inversion of this story unfolds in France. In this nightmare exodus, the Israelite (a non-Jewish klezmer clarinetist) flees Egypt (Moldova) and makes it to the Promised Land (France), only to face expulsion a decade later.

Adrian Receanu, a fixture in the Paris klezmer, Gypsy, Jazz, and classical scenes, received an unpleasant letter from the Paris Police Prefecture on March 11, 2010. The Orwellian — Un avis d’expulsion du territoire français — requires the recipient leave France within one month.

“The French state doesn’t want me,” lamented Receanu in a telephone interview. “I’m one of the 30,000 immigrants who are being expelled,” he said, referring to the Sarkozy administration’s crackdown on illegal immigration.

Only Receanu is not illegal.

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A Passover Nightmare

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