LA ROCHELLE (Latin, Rupella; Hebrew, ):
City and seaport of France; capital of the department of Charente-Inférieure; situated on the Atlantic coast. Its small Jewish community made itself conspicuous in the third decade of the thirteenth century by the exploits of one of its members named Nicholas Donin, who, after having embracedChristianity, brought persecutions upon the Jews of Brittany and caused the burning of the Talmud in 1242. An edict of expulsion was issued in 1249 against the Jews of La Rochelle by Alphonse of Poitiers, who relieved the Christian inhabitants of that city from harboring Jews. The banishment was, however, of short duration, and Jews were again in the city at the close of that same century. A Jew named Avinus, living in Toulouse in 1307, was designated a native of La Rochelle. Since the banishment of the Jews from France in 1394 there has been no Jewish community at La Rochelle.
Among the prominent men connected with the city the following may be mentioned: R. Sire Duran or Sev Duran, a halakic decision by whom in a case of marriage is found in the glosses on the "Semaḳ" (MS. Berlin No. 37, p. 18); R. Simon Deus, who is mentioned in MS. Halberstam No. 345; and Ḥayyim ben Isaac, who in 1216 copied the Bible for a certain Joseph ha-Kohen (MS. Vatican No. 468), and the Prophets and the Hagiographa for a certain David ben Meshullam (MS. Kennicott No. 242).
- Depping, Les Juifs dans le Moyen Age, p. 199;
- Gross, Gallia Judaica, p. 312.