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TARASCON (Hebrew, ):

City in the department of Bouches-du-Rhône, France. In 1276 King Charles I. intervened in behalf of its Jews against the inquisitors, who had obliged them to enlarge the wheel-shaped badge worn by them, and had extorted large sums from them in the guise of a fine. Several Jews who were expelled from Languedoc in 1306 went to Tarascon, where they were cordially received; but in 1308 Charles II., on the complaint of Christians, forbade Jews to hold public office. Queen Jeanne, however, took the Tarascon Jews under her protection (1348 and 1378); and her daughter, Marie de Blois, treated them still more favorably, making no distinction whatever between her Jewish and her Christian subjects (1390). Louis II. of Anjou exempted them (1400) from all new taxes, and granted them a special letter of protection ("sauvegarde"), by the terms of which the other inhabitants of Tarascon were enjoined to provide for their defense and for the preservation of their property. Louis III. appointed conservators of these privileges in order to remove the Jews from the arbitrary jurisdiction of the courts.

In 1454 King René issued a decree mitigating the severity of the edict of Charles I. relative to the wearing of the badge; but in 1460, at the request of the syndics, he ordered that no Jew should thenceforth hold public office, on pain of a fine of fifty marks in silver. In 1475 he obliged the Jews of the city to pay him a subsidy of 8,000 florins. Owing to their letter of protection of 1400, the Jews of Tarascon did not suffer during the bloody excesses committed in Provence in 1484 by a band of reapers; and in 1489 the municipal council, in conformity with the "sauvegarde," took steps which enabled the Jewish inhabitants to escape from the populace, which had attacked their quarter.

This quarter was commonly called the "Carrière des Juifs," or simply the "Carrière," though the names "Juzataria" and "Juateria" also occur occasionally. It included, on the one side, the portion of the Rue du Château between the royal court and the chateau of King René, and, on the otherside, the portion which separated the traverse, now the Rue des Juifs, from the monastery of the Benedictines of St. Honorat. When some Jews settled outside of the Carrière a royal decree of 1377 ordered them to return to their former domicil, on pain of a fine of 100 livres. In case of necessity, however, the Jews were permitted to go outside as far as the Rue des Baptêmes, but the condition was made that they should construct no gate or other opening to this street near the Church of St. Martbe.

The exact site of the synagogue is unknown. In 1368 the community paid to the public treasury a tax of 10 oboles for the possession of this building. In the Middle Ages the community had two cemeteries, one of them situated on the island of Tarnègue near the old commandery of St. Antoine, and the other outside of the Condamine gate between the road to Maillane and that to St. Georges. In 1526 the latter became the property of the city, which erected a pest-house on the plot.

The following scholars of Tarascon are known: R. Eliezer and his brother Joshua, Solomon of Salon, Israel of Valabrègue, Immanuel ben Jacob (Bonfils), Joseph Caspi, Don Bonafous, Samuel b. Judah and his brother En Bondavi of Marseilles; also the following physicians: Comprat Asser, Bonjuhas Guassin, Rossel, Ferrier, Bellant, Nathan, Jacob of Lunel, Orgier, Maystre Aron, Mosse Meyr, and Joseph b. Joseph.

Bibliography:
  • Arnaud Camille, Essai sur la Condition des Juifs en Provence, pp. 24, 36, 37, 39, 52;
  • Bardinet, Revue Historique, 1880;
  • Blancard, Inventaire Sommaire des Archives Départementales des Bouehes-du-Rhône, B. 142;
  • Bédarride, Les Jujfs en France, pp. 317, 320;
  • Bondurand, Les Coutumes de Tarascon, pp. 53, 64, 65, 80, 84, Nîmes, 1892;
  • Bouche Hon, Histoire de Provence, II., book ix., section iv.;
  • Depping, Les Juifs dans le Moyen Age, pp. 198, 206, 207;
  • Gross, Gallia Judaica, pp. 249-250;
  • S. Kahn, Les Juifs de Tarascon, pp. 3-57 (reprinted from R. E. J. 1889);
  • Nostradamns, Histoire de Provence, part 6;
  • Renan-Neubauer, Les Rabbins Français, pp. 477, 561, 688;
  • idem, Les Ecrivains Juifs Français, pp. 692 et seq.;
  • Revue des Langues Romanes, 1897, pp. 224-226.
S. S. K.
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