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Châlons-en-Champagne

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Châlons-en-Champagne, formerly known as Châlons-sur-Marne, is famous for its Market Castle and its ancient churches.

The Jewish presence in Châlons seems to go back a very long way, perhaps even to Roman times. In any case, it has been documented from the 11th century onwards. Indicative of this antiquity are certain street names typically given in the Middle Ages, such as rue de la Petite Juiverie and rue des Juifs, as well as the use of a Jewish cemetery at that time.

A Jewish community re-formed in the 19th century, in the emancipatory momentum of the French Revolution. A sign of this development was the inauguration in 1875 of a Hispano-Moorish-style synagogue built by the architect Alexis Vagny, in response to the arrival of Jews from Alsace-Lorraine after the 1870 war. The synagogue was destroyed during the Second World War.

Following the Shoah, in memory of which a plaque has been placed on the synagogue, the small community was reconstituted around a hundred Châlons Jews. This was largely due to the arrival of Jews from North Africa in the 1960s. Work to refurbish the synagogue has been announced for 2023.

In rue Kellerman, there is a cemetery with a Jewish plot adjacent to the First World War military necropolis, where Jewish soldiers are buried.

Many ancient manuscripts, including a Meguilat Esther, are kept in the municipal library.

Sources : Encyclopaedia Judaica, lunion.fr, Mémoire des Communautés juives de Champagne-Ardenne