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PENZANCE , seaport in S.W. England. Jews trading with the fleet settled here in the mid-18th century and a small community was formed. In 1807 a synagogue was built in New Street, under the auspices of the merchant and distiller Lemon Hart (1768–1845), subsequently warden of the Great Synagogue in London. The most notable person in the intellectual life of the community was Solomon Ezekiel (1781–1867), who organized the "Penzance Hebrew Society for Promoting the Diffusion of Religious Knowledge" and carried on a vigorous running polemic against local conversionists. Toward the end of the 19th century, the community decayed. The synagogue was sold in 1906. In the early 21st century, the only organized Jewish community in Cornwall was in Truro.


C. Roth, in: jc, Supplement (May and June 1933); idem, Rise of Provincial Jewry (1950).

[Cecil Roth]

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Penzance (pĕnzăns´), town (1991 pop. 18,501), Cornwall, SW England, at the head of Mounts Bay. Penzance is a resort and a port for the Scilly Islands. It also has flour mills. Penzance Library houses a notable Cornish collection. The town was sacked by the Spanish in 1595 and until the 18th cent. was subject to raids by Mediterranean pirates. Gilbert and Sullivan's operetta, The Pirates of Penzance, depicts the raids. The scientist Humphry Davy was born there.