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SENS (Hebrew, etc.; Latin, "Agedincum," "Civitas Senonum," "Senones"; Old French, "Sanz," "Sans," "Sens"):

Chief town of an arrondissement of the department of the Yonne, France. Jews were among its inhabitants as early as the sixth century, residing in the Rues de la Juiverie, de la Petite-Juiverie, and de la Synagogue, and having two cemeteries, one in the Rue Saint-Pregts, sold for the king by the bailiff of Sens in 1309, and the other in the Rue de la Parcheminerie, which passed into the possession of the Celestine monks in 1336. The magnificent synagogue, with its beautiful paintings representing Hebrew ceremonies, was torn down in 1750 to make room for a salt-warehouse.

In the ninth century Anségise, Archbishop and Viscount of Sens and Primate of Gaul, expelled the Jews from Sens, probably under the pretext that they were in secret communication with the Normans; but in 1146 Louis VII. permitted them to return. Pope Innocent III. complained to Philip Augustus in 1208 that the Jews had built a synagogue at Sens which surpassed the neighboring church, and that they prayed in it so loudly that they disturbed the Christian worshipers.

The chief Jewish scholars whose names are associated with Sens are: Isaac ben Solomon, Eliezer of Sens, Moses of Sens, Nathan Official, Isaac ha-Levi b. Judah, Judah of Sens, Simeon or Samson of Sens, and Samson b. Abraham of Sens, head of the school of the city and surnamed "the Prince of Sens" ("ha-Sar mi-Sans" or "Rabbenu Simson mi-Sans"). The itinerary of an anonymous traveler in Palestine, a pupil of Naḥmanides, in describing the tombs at the foot of Mount Carmel, notices especially those of R. Samson, son of Abraham of Sens, and R. Joseph of Sens, nephew of Samson of Sens.

Bibliography:
  • Gross, Gallia Judaica, pp. 661-662;
  • idem, Etude sur Simson b. Abraham de Sens, in R. E. J. vi. 167-186, vii. 40-77;
  • Neubauer, Un Voyageur Anonyme en Palestine, ib. x. 105-106.
S. J. Ka.
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