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Beaucaire, France

BEAUCAIRE (Heb. בלקיירי), town in France. Documents attest the existence of a Jewish community in Beaucaire in the 12th century; its Jews served the counts of Toulouse as fiscal administrators. After the death of Count Raymond in 1194 there were anti-Jewish outbreaks. With the annexation of lower Languedoc to France in 1229 the privileges formerly enjoyed by the Jews in Beaucaire were revoked. In 1294 Philip the Fair relegated the Jews to a special quarter, between the fortress and the present Rue Haute, today the Roquecourbe quarter. A year later he ordered the imprisonment of several Jews in order to extort money from them. The Jews had to leave Beaucaire when they were expelled from France in 1306. They were allowed to return in 1315, when their resettlement was supervised by Christian and Jewish agents sent by the king. In 1317 the Jews in Beaucaire were required to wear the Jewish *Badge . They were again expelled in 1322. The further rehabilitation of the community after 1359 came to an end with the general expulsion of the Jews from France in 1394; most of the exiles settled in Provence, then outside French administration, and in the Papal State of the *Comtat-Venaissin , where many Jews retained Beaucaire as a family name. The former Jewish quarter of Beaucaire was demolished during a siege in 1578.

The poet Judah Al-Ḥarizi, on his visit to Beaucaire in about 1210, found poets and philosophers living there. In about 1321, Samuel b. Judah of Marseilles (Marseilili) finished his Hebrew translation of *Averroes ' "middle" commentary on Aristotle's Ethics while imprisoned in the fortress of Beaucaire. Moses b. Solomon of Beaucaire translated Averroes' long commentary on the Metaphysics (1342); Beaucaire was also the birthplace of the translator Tanḥum b. Moses.


G.Saige, Les Juifs du Languedoc (1881); Steinschneider, Uebersetzungen, 171, 217, 666; Gross, Gal Jud, 119–21; Kahn, in: REJ, 65 (1913), 181–95; 66 (1913), 75–97; G. Caro, Social-und Wirtschaftsgeschichte der Juden, 1 (1924), 386–90, 510; Z. Szajkowski, Franco-Judaica (1962), index.

[Zvi Avneri]

Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.