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The unedited full-text of the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia
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FONTAINEBLEAU:

French town in the department of Seine-et-Marne. The nucleus of the community was formed about 1787. The oldest document relating to it in the archives is dated "Germinal 11, year 7" (March 31, 1799). At first the devout families met in a house owned by one of their number. In 1819 the community purchased for 1,200 francs a part of a house. This was found inadequate, and on May 12, 1853, the community acquired a site for the erection of a synagogue at the point of entrance to the palace gardens, the park, and the forest. Adjoining was a house used as a parsonage. Nathan Salomon, the inspecting architect of the castle and a member of the government, made the plans of the synagogue and directed the work without accepting any remuneration. The land cost 5,700 francs, the building 15,000. The emperor sent 1,000 francs personally, the state and the town together contributed 3,200; the community paid the rest, and in 1861 the congregation was free from debt. The foundation-stone having been laid by the subprefect in May, 1856, the inauguration ceremony occurred on Aug. 23, 1857. The ceremonies were presided over by the chief rabbi of France, Isidor, taking place in the presence of the subprefect and the authorities. Beyond the synagogue is the cemetery, in the forest at the foot of Mont Ussy.

The community, composed of merchants, daylaborers, and small fund-holders, totals twenty-nine families; to these must be added seven families from Melun, which belongs to the same district. In addition there are a certain number of Jews who take no part in the affairs of the community. It is only at the time of the grand festivals that the presence of visitors, who spend the summer there, lends any animation to the religious life. The community is frequently called upon to aid unfortunate coreligionists to reach Paris or Havre on their way to America. At the time of the expulsion of the Russian Jews, and later of the Rumanian Jews, it had to meet many such appeals.

D. M. Lev.
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