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PERTUIS ( or ):

Cantonal chief town of the department of Vaucluse, France. Jews were settled there as early as the thirteenth century. According to a document dated 1283, they, like theircoreligionists of the towns of Aix, Saint-Maximin, Lambese, Istres, Cadenet, Trets, and Lanson, were authorized by the Archbishop of Aix to possess a synagogue and cemetery, on payment of two pounds of pepper annually. In 1436 the Jews of Pertuis and some other places in Provence were persecuted on the pretext that a Jew of Aix, Astruc de Leon, had blasphemed the Virgin, for which he was condemned to be flayed alive. His fellow Jews, in their efforts to save his life, offered the sum of 20,000 florins to King René. By a clever stroke of diplomacy, the king took the offensive, and demanded of the Jews, as a penalty for their alleged attempt at corruption, besides the original sum of 20,000 florins, 4,000 or 5,000 florins more for his favorites. Nevertheless the unhappy Jew, against whom the charge of blasphemy had been made, and who had been sentenced to death, suffered the penalty.

In 1446 a Jew of Pertuis, Bonjuhes Passapeyre, was a member of the commission assembled at Arles to determine the assessment of the contributions which the Hebrew communities of Provence were obliged to pay annually to the king and to the "conservators" (see Arles). In 1451 or 1452 a Jew of Pertuis, named Bendig, settled at Arles; and in 1583 two others, Davin and David ben Baruch, went to Avignon. The signatures of the latter two appear at the end of two documents relating to an accusation brought before the cardinal against the community of Carpentras, which had threatened a woman named Bonastorga with excommunication.

Bibliography:
  • Joseph ha-Kohen, Emeḳ ha-Baka, transl. Julien Sée, pp. 245-246;
  • Le Sémaphore de Marseille, Nov. 6 and 7, 1887;
  • Monatsschrift, 1878, p. 195;
  • Nostradamus. Histoire de Provence, p. 599;
  • Depping, Les Juifs dans le Moyen Age, p. 197;
  • Pitton, Annales de l'Eglise d'Aix (Charter of 1283);
  • R. E. J. x. 83, 85; xlviii. 66, 76.
G. S. K.
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