We're in a pretty narrow street here. This street is quite curved and very melancholic. According to several archives, the street sign had disappeared during the Occupation. Anti-Semitism was the rule of the Occupation. The plaque was handed over shortly after the Liberation of the city of Troyes. Quite simply, this street reminds us of an ancient temple that stood there beyond 1320 and of which little knowledge has come down to us today. According to historians, a synagogue would have been built there. It would have been erected for Jewish merchants, local or foreigners attending the markets and fairs of Troyes. It would have been demolished during the reign of Philip Augustus at the end of the 12th century. But there is no certainty about the reality of this synagogue. At least, the name has remained.
Let there be no mistake, the synagogue street does not indicate that the Jewish population at the time was well supplied. Jews were only a small part of the population in the century before Rashi. Contemporary historians admit that Jews would have arrived in southern Champagne at the beginning of the 11th century by two different routes :
- From the south came families from Spain and the Narbonne region.
- The other stream came from Germany via the Rhineland.
At the time, Jews were subjected to numerous attacks from bandits and ill-intentioned people. Somehow, they arrived in Champagne where they could be welcomed with kindness. According to Henri Cahen, during the reign of Count Thibaud I (1037-1089) there were between 30 and 50 Jewish families.
Little by little, they sought protection from the great lords. Regroupings took place in Ramerupt, Brienne, Bar-sur-Seine, Bar-sur-Aube and Troyes. They then began to earn their living in small crafts, flea markets and trade. Still others formed academies. Rachi is one of them.
A quick word about the church of Saint-Pantaléon: the first church made of wood and cob is mentioned as early as 1189, as an outbuilding of the church of Saint-Jean-Au-Marché.