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September 23, 1994 - Image 67

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1994-09-23

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

N

Commandments. The area is il-
luminated by silver lamps saved
from the original 15th century
synagogue.
Opposite the ark, four blue
and white fluted columns with
gilded corinthian capitals hold
up a balcony where the rabbi
sat. Unique to Provencal syna-
gogues is the small velvet chair,
reserved for the Prophet Elijah,
located in a niche on the wall
high above the sturdy wooden
circumcision chair.
It took eight years to restore
the synagogue's Louis XV inte-
rior. It is now part of the Musee
Juif Comtadin, which includes
ritual objects from the Middle
Ages through the 18th century.
The museum entrance is locat-
ed in the lower part of the syn-
agogue, where the matzah was
baked and the women prayed.
Unlike the Cavaillon syna-
gogue, nothing remains of the
old "carriere" on the Place de la
Maire enclosing the Carpentras
Jews. When the synagogue was
built in 1743, it supported a
community of approximately
1,000 Jews. A heavy wooden
door at street level opens to a
wide marble staircase leading to
the sanctuary. The synagogue's
mikvah and matzah oven are lo-
cated in the basement and are
under restoration.
The sanctuary is a large
square room decorated with
celadon-colored paneled walls
and simple crystal chandeliers.
The high, light blue ceiling is
decorated with small gold stars.
The rabbi sat on a balcony en-
circled by menorah decorated
railings supported by faux mar-
ble columns.Women prayed be-
hind screens located below the
balustrade.
As in cavaillon, an 18th cen-
tury miniature velvet armchair
for Elijah occupies a niche on the
wall above the ark. The ark it-
self is covered with velvet em-
broidery and the Torah is
decorated with etched gold and
silver finials. Silver Chanukah
menorahs flank the ark.
The Cavaillon Comtadin Jew-
ish Museum is open daily except
Tuesday from 10 a.m. to noon
and from 2 p.m.-6 p.m. There is
an admission charge. The Car-
pentras Synagogue is open
weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon
and 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. There is no
charge for admission.
Since Cavaillon is not a par-
ticularly interesting or pretty
city, visit its museum first, then
head to the more attractive Car-
pentras for lunch before a tour
of the synagogue there.
An excellent base for visiting
both synagogues is Isle-Sur-
Sorge, located midway between
Cavaillon and Carpentras. The
Mas de Cure Bourse, small inn
outside of town, has food, ac-
commodations and a large
swimming pool. CI

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