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Blois, France

BLOIS, capital of the department of Loir-et-Cher, north-central France. The earliest information concerning Jews in Blois dates from 992. The community is known in medieval Jewish annals for the tragic consequences of a *blood libel in 1171, the first ritual murder accusation to be made in France. Thirty-three members of the community including men, women and children, were burned at the stake on May 26, on the orders of Count Theobald. Jacob b. Meir *Tam established the 20th of Sivan, the date of the martyrdom, as a fast day for the Jewsin France, England, and the Rhineland. *Ephraim b. Jacob of Bonn , his brother Hillel, and others composed elegies on the martyrs. The tragedy was the subject of a Hebrew drama by S.D. *Goitein , Pulẓelinah (1927). Jews possibly settled in Blois again, for in 1345 a quarter known as la Juiverie is reported. The present-day rue des Juifs near the cathedral is probably located on the same site. During World War II a few Jews from Alsace settled in Blois. In 1968 there were 60 Jews living in Blois, mainly from North Africa.


S. Spiegel, in: Sefer ha-Yovel le-M.M. Kaplan (1953), 267–87; A.M. Habermann, Sefer Gezerot Ashkenaz ve-Ẓarefat (1945); M. Steinschneider, Die Geschichtsliteratur der Juden (1905), 34; Zunz, Lit Poesie, 279, 283, 286, 290, 293, 308; Salfeld, Martyrol; Gross, Gal Jud, S.V.; R. Chazan, in: PAAJR, 36 (1968), 13–31.

[Zvi Avneri]

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