VALENCE, chief town of the department of Dôme, S.E. France, part of the ancient province of Dauphiné. The establishment of the Jewish community in Valence does not go back earlier than 1323; however, the decision of the council held in the town in 1248 that prohibited all relations between Christians and Jews may lead to the assumption that isolated Jews were living there at the time. This decision appears to have been decreed in the wake of the accusation of ritual murder of *Valreas in 1247 as a result of which the high constable of Valence had all the Jews on his lands imprisoned and their possessions confiscated. In 1441, when the community numbered 18 families, the bishop recalled the obligation of the Jews to wear the distinctive sign so that "guests be not regarded as citizens." In 1463, 14 Jews of Valence were ordered to pay a severe fine to the dauphin "for having practiced excessive usury and having spoken evilly of His Majesty…." In 1476 the same dauphin granted the Jews of Valence a new letter of protection; however, at the close of the century this community disappeared, as did the other communities of Dauphiné. At the beginning of World War II, there were about 50 Jewish families in Valence, half of whom were refugees from *Alsace. In the early 1970s, there were about 800 Jews in Valence, mainly of North African origin.
Gross, Gal Jud, 204; A. Prudhomme, in: REJ, 9 (1884), 235–41; S. Grayzel, The Church and the Jews (19602), 234f.; P. de Torey, Catalogue des Acres du Dauphin Louis II (1899), passim; Z. Szajkowski, Analytical Franco-Jewish Gazetteer (1966), 186.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.