RHEIMS, city in the Marne department, N. France. It was not the Church council of Rheims (624–625) that laid down legislation on the Jews, as has sometimes been thought, but the council of Clichy (626–627). Jews are first recorded in Rheims in 1077; in 1103 they lived in the Vicus Judaeorum, later known as the Rue de Gieu (Juifs) and after 1355 the Rue des Elus. The site of the medieval synagogue is disputed, but it was perhaps No. 18 Rue des Elus. The cemetery was situated at the junction of the roads to Châlons and Cernay. Jewish scholars from Rheims participated in the *synod convened by Solomon b. Abraham *Adret and Jacob b. Meir *Tam in the mid-12th century. According to Petrus Cantor (d. 1197), dean of the cathedral chapter, theological disputations between the Jews and the Christians of Rheims were a frequent occurrence in the second half of the 12th century. Although the community was greatly reduced in the latter half of the 13th century, nevertheless the royal officer and the archbishop disputed about who had paramount authority over the Jewish community. There is no evidence of a new community between 1315 and 1322 (after the expulsion from the kingdom of France in 1306), but there certainly were Jews in the city once more in 1389. It may be that the successive expulsions led to a marked number of conversions to Christianity; a number of Christians are recorded who bore the surname "le Juif." A few Jews settled in Rheims in 1820, but a community was not formed until the arrival of Jews from *Alsace and *Lorraine after 1870. In 1879 a synagogue was built. Although just before World War II an appreciable amount of real estate belonged to Jews, the number of Jews living in the city remained small. In 1971 there were 600 Jews in Rheims; they had a synagogue and community center.
Gross, Gal Jud, 633f.; B. Blumenkranz, Juifs et Chrétiens dans le Monde Occidental (1960), 87, 107; P. Tarbe, Reims; Ses Rues et ses Monuments (1844), 376; C. Schwingrouber, Reims; Rues et Places Publiques, Recherches Historiques sur leurs Dénominations (1904), 57f., 171; E. Cahen (?), in: Almanach Annuaire Historique, Administratif de la Marne…, 22 (1880), 145–54; Z. Szajkowski, Analytical Franco-Jewish Gazetteer (1966), 224.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.