Built in 1367, the synagogue in Carpentras is the oldest still in use in France, and the second oldest in Europe. The city, home to one of Provence’s earliest Jewish communities, had fallen under the control of the papacy in the 13th century and provided a refuge for Jews in the following century when they were expelled from various parts of France. Beneath the synagogue is a mikveh built at the same time and fed by an artesian well. The synagogue’s interior was redesigned in the baroque style during the 18th century; the original structure, mostly below ground, is currently being excavated.
France’s Oldest Synagogue, and the History beneath It
Hizballah Bears Responsibility for the Beirut Blast
According to the Lebanese government, the explosion in its capital city on Tuesday that left over 100 dead and many more injured or homeless was caused by the accidental detonation of some 2,750 of ammonium nitrate, a fertilizer often used for making bombs. (Less than one-thousandth of that amount was used by Timothy McVeigh to destroy the Oklahoma City federal building in 1995.) Previously, police have discovered Hizballah warehouses in London and Germany storing many tons of the same explosive. Hussein Ibish comments: