France’s Oldest Synagogue, and the History beneath It

November 13, 2019 | Henry Abramson
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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.

In a series of four short videos, Henry Abramson showcases the synagogue and explains its history. Herewith, the second of these. (Three minutes.) The rest can be found at the link below.


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