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The Sublime Abode, The Rabbinic School & The Jewish Kingdom of Rouen

Thirty years ago, a very ancient and exceptional Jewish monument was by chance discovered beneath the courtyard of Rouen’s Palace of Justice. The purpose of this beautiful romanesque edifice, constructed circa 1100, was for a long time cloud-ed in mystery. Was it a synagogue, a rabbinic school, a private residence...? One groped for answers.

Today, thanks to the investigations of Norman Golb of the University of Chicago - a world-renowned Hebrew manuscript specialist- the veil has been lifted. The monument sheltered one of the most prestigious of rabbinic schools, in point of fact the only medieval yeshibah in the world whose vestiges have been preserved.

Jacques-Sylvain Klein here reveals to us the fabulous discoveries of Professor Golb: how a Jewish community was implanted in Normandy from Gallo-Roman times, how a “Jewish kingdom” was estab-lished in Rouen under the authority of the Carolingian rulers, how the influence of the School of Rouen extended to all the seats of Hebraic learning in northern Europe…

 

Author Biography :

Jacques-Sylvain Klein is a native of Rouen, where he was adjunct to the mayor from 1995 to 2000.

Impassioned by the cultural history of his region, he has published the essay Peinture: l’effervescence rouennaise au siècle naissant (Etudes normandes 4, 1989) and an art volume entitled La Normandie, berceau de l’impressionnisme (Ouest-France, 1996).

He is an official at the French National Assembly, where he directs the Service of the Economy and of Scientific Evaluation, and is the author of several works on local finances.