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NANCY (Hebr. ):

Chief town of the department of Meurthe-et-Moselle, France, and the ancient capital of Lorraine; seat of a consistory whose district comprises 4,500 souls. When Jews first settled there is unknown; but they were expelled toward the end of the fourteenth century and were authorized to return at the beginning of the seventeenth. In 1721 Duke Leopold permitted 180 Jewish families to continue to reside in Lorraine and to engage in commerce, but seven years later he issued a decree under his privy seal in which he annulled all measures and acts passed for the benefit of the Jews, excepting those with regard to bills of exchange. A Jew who was found guilty of dishonest or usurious dealings with a Christian was punished by the cancelation of the debt due and by being compelled to pay double the amount to the debtor, in addition to a fine of 500 francs to the prince. In 1736 Leopold ordered all Jews living in houses adjacent to those of Christians to remove to a special quarter which he assigned to them, under penalty of confiscation of their property in the case of such as were owners of the houses in which they lived and who did not dispose of them, or of a fine of 2,000 francs in the case of those who were merely tenants of real estate situated outside the ghetto.

King Stanislaus was more friendly toward the Jews. On Jan. 25, 1753, he suspended the edict of 1728; but he maintained all the old laws, and appointed Solomon Alcan, Isaac Berr, and Michael Goudchaux of Nancy syndics of the Jews of Lorraine. This decree was sanctioned in 1762 by the parliament of Lorraine; but the number of Jews authorized to reside in Lorraine was still limited to 180 families, and all others were ordered to leave within a month, under penalty of expulsion and the confiscation of their goods by the king.

In 1789 the Jewish community of Nancy was very prosperous, and Bishop la Fare himself, although strongly opposing their eligibility, was obliged to admit before the National Assembly (Dec. 23, 1789) that the Jews had rendered great services to the state, and especially to the city of Nancy. In 1791 the Jews of the city addressed a petition to the Legislative Assembly, requesting that they might be omitted from the list of those assessed for the liquidation of the debts of the ancient Jewish community of Metz. The petition was granted.

The congregation has several charitable societies, and it maintains a home for the aged. Among the rabbis of Nancy are to be mentioned Jacob Schweisch (at the end of the eighteenth century), Baruch Guguenheim, Marchand Ennery, D. Marx, S. Ulmann, and Liebermann (nineteenth century). Among its principal Jews special mention should be made of the physician Berr Isaac Berr of Turique, who took a prominent part in the emancipation of the Jews. On Oct. 14, 1789, he appeared on the floor of the National Assembly and delivered an eloquent discourse, in which he demanded the rights of citizens for his coreligionists. With his son Michel Berr, Moïse Levy Gumpel, and Baruch Guguenheim he took part in the Assembly of Notables and in the Great Sanhedrin.

Bibliography:
  • Bédarride, Les Juifs en France, p. 387;
  • Depping, Les Juifs dans le Moyen Age, p. 211;
  • Carmoly, Histoire des Médecins Juifs, p. 203;
  • idem, Biographies des Israélites de France, p. 54;
  • Gross, Gallia Judaica, p. 400;
  • Halphen, Législation, pp. 169, 181, Paris, 1851.
G. S. K.
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