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The Vaucluse région, known historically as the Comtat Venaissin, has always been a relatively safe haven for Jews. Ceded to the Vatican in 1274, it remained in the Vatican's hands until 1791, when it reverted to France. Jews in the Comtat spoke a Judeo-Provençal dialect and developed their own liturgy, Comtatdin. Under the protection of the Avignon Popes, the Jewish community flourished. Jews were permitted to live in Avignon, Carpentras, Cavaillon, and L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, known at the time as the Arba Kehilot. With the exception of L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, these cities still contain fine vestiges of their old Jewish quarters. To receive the free brochure The Road to Jewish Heritage in the South of France, contact the Vauclause Département Tourist Office, B.P. 147, 84008 Avignon Cedex, tel. 04.90.80.47.00, www.provenceguide.com. [January 2008]

 
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