Jewish Travel Agency Itinerary cruise excursion Jewish Provence

Jewish Provence

In the 14th century, the countryside of Provence became the home of many Jews who were exiled from the Kingdom of France by Philip the fair and Charles VI. When Provence became part of France in 1481, the Jews were welcomed of Pope of Avignon.

Approximate timing.

8:30am Depart ship from pier in Marseilles Port for Jewish Heritage tour of Provence.

First stop will be Cavallion where you will visit Synagogue - a masterpiece of Comtadine art from the 18th century, this synagogue is one of the most remarkable Jewish houses of prayer standing today. The Synagogue, rebuilt during the 18th century, occupies the upper floor and contains pure Louis XV style furnishings. It also houses a Judeo-Comtadin Museum.

10:30am Depart for Carpentras

Back as 1357 – one fifth of the population of Carpentras was Jewish.

Carpentras synagogue is the oldest in France. The plain façade conceals a Rococo sanctuary similar to Italian synagogues of the same period.

Regulations in force at the time made it illegal for synagogues to have exterior decoration. Built during 1741–1743, the structure contains parts of a 14th-century synagogue that was on the same site. The present building was partially restored in 1930, 1953, and 1959 and it has been designated an historic landmark. Inside, the Bimah, the raised reading platform, is at the opposite end of the room from the Aron Kodesh, the Holy Ark, the cabinet where the Torah scrolls are kept. This is also characteristic of the same Italianate style. In Orthodox Judaism women are not permitted to pray in the same room as men. Here and in most synagogues of that era this separation was effected with a balcony or mezzanine that you see today. But here in the 18th century, women sat in the basement where a small window allowed them to hear the chants and prayers. In addition there was an official known as the rabbi of women.

The basement also contains remnants of a matzo oven and mikvah, a ritual bath.

Visit synagogue.

Lunch is included.

1:30 pm depart for Avignon for a brief tour, see synagogue from outside.

The Jewish community in Avignon has roots that go back as the first century after the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem (70 AD).

However, there are no written records for anything prior to the 12th century. The first Jewish quarter, or carrière, faced the Palais des Papes on Rue de la Vieille Juiverie. By the early 13th century, the carrière was on Rue Jacob and Place Jerusalem, where the present-day synagogue stands. This tiny area, barely 100 square yards, was home to over 1,000 people. Living outside the carrier was forbidden by law for Jews. Walls surrounded it and three locked gates kept Jews from leaving without permission. Even when permission was granted the Roman Catholic Church collected tolls and life within was subject to many restrictions and regulations

3:30pm depart for Marseilles for 1.5 hour ride.

5:00pm Arrive Marseilles

Please note: synagogues visits are confirmed but it is subject to change.