In the 18th and 19th centuries, the lives of most women were centered on family matters. Rebecca Gratz took a very different course. She never married, but instead "devoted her adult life to providing relief for Philadelphia's underprivileged women and children and securing religious, moral and material sustenance for all of Philadelphia's Jews.
The Jews of New York City were rather late in establishing Jewish institutions such as poorhouses, homes for orphans and the aged, and hospitals. Several attempts were made in the years prior to 1850, but they failed due to the small size of the New Jewish community, which in 1836 numbered only about 2,000 and increased to about 7,000 in 1840.
The Civil War caused a great divide among Americans, pitting brother against brother, relative against relative, friend against friend. Jews fought on both sides in this conflict, and they also found themselves beset with divided loyalties. Alfred Mordecai was one such individual who was forced to make a most difficult decision that cost him his career and alienated him from family and friends..
In two earlier articles we traced the life and rabbinical career of Rabbi Simon Glazer until 1918. Rav Glazer was a rare individual in that he was a secularly educated European trained Orthodox Rov who spoke and wrote English fluently.
Despite such opposition, the Yeshivah of Flatbush opened that year with 22 children, four teachers for two classes – a kindergarten and a first grade.
The discovery of the Western Hemisphere opened new opportunities for Jews.
Last month we dealt with the building of the Lloyd Street Synagogue, the first synagogue to be built in Maryland. This month we look at how the building became a church, then again an Orthodox Synagogue, and finally a historic site.
The Gomez family was one the foremost Jewish families in New York during colonial times.
The name de Sola appears prominently in the annals of Spanish Jewish history. The de Solas may have settled in Andalusia (in southern Spain) as early as the sixth century.
In 1927 Captain N. Taylor Phillips1 delivered an address before Congregation Shearith Israel in New York in which he recalled some of the history and traditions of early New York American Jewry. His recollections give fascinating insight into Jewish religious life in America when the community was still in its infancy.
In 1825, more than 70 years before the First Zionist Congress was held in Basel, Switzerland, Mordechai Manuel Noah startled the world by proposing a concrete plan for the establishment of a Jewish city of refuge in North America.
The development of the Jewish day school in the United States, before the beginning of the modern Jewish day school movement, was sporadic and uneven.
It was in 1859, according to the Central City Colorado History & Historic Facts website, that "John Gregory discovered 'The Gregory Lode' in a gulch near Central City. Within two weeks, the gold rush was on and within two months the population grew to 10,000 people seeking their fortunes.
There are those who have the foresight to establish institutions that leave a lasting impression on Klal Yisrael. One such man was Rabbi Abraham Nachman Schwartz, who founded Yeshiva Torah ve-Emunah Hebrew Parochial School in Baltimore.
These letters give us the privilege of knowing him in his old age when he is mellow, tempered in his judgments, and sagacious from long experience of dealing with people.
"The twenty-three Jews who sailed into New Amsterdam harbor on a September day in 1654 were to found the first Jewish community in what is today the United States.
Mr. Fischel had a longstanding relationship with the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS), which was destined to have its name transferred to the rabbinical school affiliated with Yeshiva University.
The two Torah giants spent hours discussing a variety of Torah topics, some of which went well beyond subjects normally dealt with in Lithuanian yeshivas.
In a recent front-page essay (May 30, 2008) and in last month's "Glimpses" column we traced the life of Rabbi Jacob Joseph (1840-1902). Rabbi Joseph, who studied in the famed Volozhiner Yeshiva, was an outstanding Talmudic scholar and one of Rav Yisroel Salanter's main students.
In the late 1800's and early 1900's America was called the treifa medina by many religious Jews living in Eastern Europe.
The English first settled at Albemarle Point in what is now South Carolina in 1670. In 1680 this settlement was moved to a peninsula between the Ashley and Cooper Rivers, and became Charles Town (named in honor King Charles II). The new location was more healthful than the original settlement, and, since it was behind the islands of a land-locked harbor, provided safety from attack. The name was changed to Charleston at the end of the War of Independence.
Needless to say, a cool, calm and wise Rabbi Schwab soothed things over, as he had done on so many other occasions.
Anyone familiar with Jewish history knows of the blood libels that have been used against Jews for centuries.
From these headlines it is clear that the 400th anniversary of Columbus discovering the New World was cause for great celebration by New York Jewry.
Last month we sketched the life of Reverend Dr. Sabato Morais and discussed his spiritual leadership of Congregation Mikveh Israel in Philadelphia as well as his involvement in a wide range of communal activities. Here we outline some of his many other accomplishments and describe his huge funeral.