In 2016, an extraordinary project was born, hosted in the Troyes Synagogue: providing a “house” for Rashi in his native town, set inside a typical 17th-century Champagne-style background. After four years of work, the results of the synagogue’s restoration are exceptional: visitors are invited to pray under the splendid glass roof of the sanctuary, wander amidst a 2000-square-meter labyrinth of courtyards, halls and cellars and learn about the adventure of this reconstruction. The synagogue of Troyes also invites visitors to immerse themselves in Rashi’s universe, through an ambitious exhibition titled “Rashi’s House”, in which visitors can discover Rashi and his work, thanks to an immersive and innovative digital scenography. This exhibition shares the story of Rashi and his disciples, who were able to transmit the soul of French Judaism far beyond the borders of the Champagne area, influencing rabbinical literature far beyond the 13th century, end of the Tossafists era in Champagne. A recreated oratory and bet hamidrash (study hall) immerse visitors in the medieval Troyes of Rashi. Visitors are also invited to study Rashi’s commentaries on digital devices, creating an innovative interactive experience.
The Rashi Memorial created by the sculptor Raymond Moretti was inaugurated in 1990, 950th anniversary of Rashi’s birth, on the occasion of the opening of the Rashi University Institute. This large sphere, 2.20m in diameter by 2.80m in height, faces the Champagne theater, close to the former Jewish cemetery where Rashi was buried. The monument rests on a hexagonal granite plinth which represents France. This black and white sculpture symbolises contrasts and presents in cutout, the acronym of Rashi. It was officially unveiled by Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel.
The Rashi European University Institute is an institution of higher education, open to all, devoted to Jewish and Semitic studies and research on monotheistic religions. In the spirit of the exegete Rashi, the Institute opens Judaism to the world, in all its diversity. Classes, debate evenings, and conferences hosted throughout the year provide paths of reflection centered on religious study and on the dialogue between cultures and religions. The exhibition “Rashi and the Jews in Medieval Times in Europe”, inaugurated in 2005 by Troyes’ Jacques Chirac public Library to commemorate the 900th anniversary of Rashi’s death, is also open to visitors (under registration).
Saint Frobert is the Old Jewish quarter of Troyes. It gathers the streets St Frobert, Hennequin, du Paon, Audiffred, Cordeliers, Boucherat. The rue Saint-Frobert and the current district are named after the old church which is said to have been built on the site of a synagogue where Rashi is said to have taught. The rue du Paon probably housed his home. In the Middle Ages, the neighbourhood was known as the “Broce aux Juifs” which referred to the brushwood in the area, situated close to the countryside. In the 11th century, this area was home to several jewish families including Rachi. The Jewish community of Troyes was able to develop thanks to the protection granted to them by the counts of Champagne from the 11televenth to the 13th century between the reign of Thibault II and Thibault IV. If Jewish families gathered in this neighborhood nothing distinguished them from the rest of the population. It was not until 1215 that the Church forced them to wear a distinctive sign on their clothes in the form of a piece of yellow cloth called a wheel (Rouelle). Rashi died at age 65 on July 13, 1105. Buried in Troyes with full honours in the former jewish cemetery, situated in the area of Moretti's sculpture, outside the walls of the medieval city, next to the Porte de la Girouarde today disapeared (located at the time at the crossroads of Quai Dampierre and Rue de la Cité). The cemetery was demolished in the 16th century to enlarge the city and his grave disapeared.