TOURS (Hebr. , "Mordekai" on M. Ḳ. No. 921; or , "Yosippon," ed. Venice, p. 6b):

Capital of the department of Indre-et-Loire, France. Since the first half of the sixth century Jews have lived either in the city or in its environs, especially in Civray. About the year 580 a Jewish tax-gatherer of Tours named Amantius, together with his three attendants, one Jew and two Christians, was attacked by a certain Injuriosus, stripped, murdered, and thrown into a well. At the close of the eleventh century Philip I. of France made over to his wife, Bertrade, half the revenues from the Jews of Tours, while in 1119 and 1143 Louis VI. and his son, Louis VII, presented this income as an offering to the Abbey of Saint Martin. In 1141 the Jews were obliged to give the king at Easter the sum of thirty sous, together with half a pound of pepper and other gifts in kind; and at Christmas they were forced to give half a pound of pepper, two loaves of bread, a pitcher of wine, and a certain quantity of meat. At the end of the twelfth century they were compelled to pay 30 sous annually to Richard, King of England and Count of Tours, and to the Abbey of Saint Martin. After the year 1202 the kings of France collected the revenues of the Jews, which amounted to 120 livres in 1234, but which increased to 1,024 livres and 5 denarii in 1298, and reached the sum of 2,077 livres, 9 denarii in the following year. In 1306 the Jews were expelled from Tours; but they returned in 1315, and were molested four years later by a band of rogues who pretended to have a commission from the king to extort money from them. Then came the charge of poisoning the wells; and in 1321 they were again driven from Tours, Amboise, Loches, and Chinon.

The Jews of Tours had their own ghetto, which was called "la Juiverie" and was situated in the parish of Saint-Pierre du Boile in the Rue des Maures, called the Rue des Morts or de la Juiverie in the eighteenth century. In 1306 Philip the Fair presented the Jewish quarter to the archbishop and his clergy.

The cemetery was in the parish of Saint Vincent, in front of the "old garden"; it extended from the vineyards of Saint Vincent to the Rue de la Chèvre, and from the vineyards of the vestry of Saint Julian to the street which ran in front of the "old garden." In the thirteenth century certain disputes arose between the Jews of Tours and the archbishop, Pierre de Lamballe, but in 1255 the latter guaranteed them perpetual possession of their cemetery and of a house and the vineyards attached, reserving for himself only the right of jurisdiction and a rent of five gold oboles of the value of 25 sous, payable annually at Christmas. In case of non-payment the Jews were liable to a fine of 7½ sous, and they were forbidden to till the ground until they should have discharged their debt. In return, the archbishop, in guaranteeing the peaceable possession of the cemetery, granted also the right to inter therein the bodies of their coreligionists without regard to the place of death, while in the house attached to the graveyard they were permitted to place a guardianexempt from service to the archbishop and from the payment of any rental. This agreement was ratified in 1305 by Archbishop Renaud, the successor of Pierre de Lamballe; but in the following year the cemetery was confiscated, together with the other property of the Jews, and it disappeared completely in 1359-60.

The most noteworthy scholars of the city were: Solomon of Tours, the correspondent of Rashi, who called him his "dear friend"; David of Tours; and Joseph ben Elijah, brother of Perez of Corbeil (Zunz, "Z. G." p. 41). At present (1905) there are about twenty Jewish families in the city.

  • Boutaric, Actes du Parlement, ii. No. 5713;
  • Giraudet, Histoire de la Ville de Tours, i. 127, 138;
  • Gross, Gallia Judaica, pp. 217-218;
  • Lelogeais, Histoire des Rues de Tours, p. 81;
  • R. E. J. xv. 247, 254; xvii. 210-234; xviii. 262-270;
  • Venantius Fortunatus, Vita Sancti Germani.
S. S. K.
Images of pages