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213 Rue Ste Catherine  

33000 Bordeaux

Tel: 05 56 91 79 39


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Rabbi: Joseph Ohayon




This synagogue continues to predominantly follow the historic Portuguese rite upon which it was founded.





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The presence of a Jewish community can be traced back several centuries in the metropolis Aquitaine. This increased considerably after the promulgation of the decree of the Alhambra (March 31, 1492) by which the Catholic Monarchs decided to expel the Jews of the Iberian Peninsula. Fleeing persecution by the Inquisition, many of them decide to move beyond the Pyrenees, forming communities often active and successful in the south-west France. The Jewish community flourished in Bordeaux for centuries, providing some important names in the fields of literature, arts, commerce and politics (Gradis, Raba, Pereyra Nunes, Pereire and Mendès).


During the creation of the Central Consistory of Napoleon, a regional Consistory was created in Bordeaux in 1808. A year later, a large synagogue was founded on Causserouge Street. Designed by the architect Arnaud Corcelle, it is loosely based on oriental architecture. The nerve center of the Jewish quarter, this monumental building was the victim of a terrible fire in 1873.


This loss made the representatives of the community determined to build a new sanctuary, whose implementation was entrusted to the architect André Burguet and, after his death to the architects Charles Durand and Paul Abadie. Work began in 1877 and was completed in 1882. On Sept. 5 (21 Elul 5642 of the Hebrew calendar), the Great Synagogue of Bordeaux was inaugurated.


During the German occupation, the synagogue was pillaged and served as a place of internment for Jews who failed to escape in time. Nearly 1,600 families were imprisoned before being deported to the camps of Dachau and Auschwitz-Birkenau.


Today, the Great Synagogue, which stands on Grand Rabbi Joseph Cohen Street, set back from the St. Catherine Street, is one of the foundations of the Jewish community of Bordeaux.


Source: (translated)

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