ROCHELLE, LA, capital of the department of Charente-Maritime, W. France. The presence of Jews in La Rochelle is mentioned from the first half of the 13th century. The expulsion planned by *Alphonse of Poitiers in 1249 does not appear to have been carried out; in 1251 a Jew, Haquot, who had been banished for personal reasons, was recalled to La Rochelle from Bordeaux. The Jews were definitely expelled from La Rochelle in 1291. The medieval community occupied the Rue des Juifs, later known as Rue de l'Evêché. The apostate Nicholas *Donin, who instigated the campaign against the Talmud, originated from La Rochelle. It was here also that *Manasseh Ben Israel was born, his parents having stayed in the town after fleeing from Portugal. From the beginning of the 18th century, the Lameira family, originally from Portugal, lived in La Rochelle; it maintained connections with the Sephardi community of Bordeaux, whose mohel served La Rochelle. During World War II Jewish property was confiscated. The Jewish community in La Rochelle numbered approximately 200 in 1969.
Gross, Gal Jud, 312f.; A. Barbot, Histoire de La Rochelle, 1 (1886), 107f.; L. Cardozo de Bethencourt, in: REJ, 20 (1890), 289ff.; Z. Szajkowski, Analytical Franco-Jewish Gazetteer (1966), 173.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.