web analytics
September 20, 2014 / 25 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



A Special Flag For Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln's use of the term'"four score and seven years ago' may have been borrowed from a rabbi's Fourth of July sermon

Abraham Lincoln's use of the term'"four score and seven years ago' may have been borrowed from a rabbi's Fourth of July sermon

In February 1861, Abraham Kohn, one of the founders of Chicago’s Congregation Kehilath Anshe Maariv and at the time the city clerk in the administration of Mayor John Wentworth, presented Abraham Lincoln with a unique American flag. In the white bars of the flag Kohn, in his own hand and in Hebrew, had inscribed verses 4 through 9 of Joshua I, namely:

Verse 4: From the wilderness, and this Lebanon, even unto the river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your border.

Verse 5: There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life; as I was with Moses, so I   will be with thee; I will not fail thee nor forsake thee.

Verse 6: Be strong and of good courage; for thou shalt cause this people to inherit the land which I swore unto their fathers to give them.

Verse 7: Only be strong and very courageous, to observe to do according to all the law, which Moses My servant commanded thee; turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest have good success whithersoever thou goest.

Verse 8: This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein; for then thou shalt have good success.

Verse 9: Have I not commanded thee? Be strong and of good courage; be not affrighted, neither be thou dismayed; for the Lord they God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.[i]

Who was Abraham Kohn and how did he come to so admire Abraham Lincoln that he was motivated to make this presentation?

Kohn “was born in Bavaria in 1819 and came to America in 1842.Like many other German Jews beginning to feel the effects of repressive measures directed against them, he came to America, the land referred to in Germany as das gebentschte Land—the blessed land. Abraham Kohn and his brothers, Moses and Judas, engaged in perhaps the most common occupation of immigrant Jews of that time, peddling merchandise from house to house.”[ii]

Abraham remained a peddler in rural New England for a relatively short time and, less than two years after his arrival in America, was already living in Chicago as the proprietor of a store. Kohn kept a diary in German of his experiences as a peddler.

“Fortunately, the diary mirroring the heartaches and hardships that fell to his lot has been preserved. It is a valuable but hitherto unpublished document that furnishes insight into the life and emotions of a young man who set out to make his fortune overseas. It reveals clearly the sensibilities of the author. His fine Jewish background comes to the surface in a variety of Hebrew allusions used with the original German. There is a graphic picture of what it meant to cross Germany on foot from Bavarian to Bremen in the old days and what grim privations were endured on the Atlantic voyage.”[iii]

Abraham Kohn can perhaps be considered the quintessential Jew of an appreciably large class of Jews who had immigrated to America in the middle 1800s. After his early struggles he became successful in business, was devoted to his synagogue, and was active in public life.

“It was during the presidential campaign of 1860 that Abraham Kohn, City Clerk of Chicago, first met Lincoln, the acquaintance being formed in the store of Kohn, at that time a merchant. In politics Kohn was described by the Democratic press as ‘one of the blackest Republicans and Abolitionists.’ Kohn’s popularity and influence had probably been brought to Lincoln’s attention, and the latter, consummate politician as he was, recognized in Kohn, presumably, an ally whose acquaintance would prove a valuable asset in the pending election. Lincoln was introduced by Congressman Isaac N. Arnold who accompanied him and it was this meeting that inspired Kohn with a feeling of admiration for his visitor and a conviction that he was the destined Moses of the slaves and the saviour of his country. Thus says his daughter, Mrs. D. K. Adler, in a letter to the writer. Lincoln in the course of the conversation spoke of the Bible as their book and Kohn, being a devout Jew as well as an ardent patriot, conceived an intense admiration for Lincoln. This found expression in his sending to the President-elect before his departure for Washington a silk flag, the work of his own hands, painted in colors, its folds bearing Hebrew characters exquisitely lettered in black with the third to ninth verses of the first chapter of Joshua.

About the Author: Dr. Yitzchok Levine served as a professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, New Jersey before retiring in 2008. He now teaches as an adjunct at Stevens. Glimpses Into American Jewish History appears the first week of each month. Dr. Levine can be contacted at llevine@stevens.edu.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “A Special Flag For Abraham Lincoln”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Finance Minister Yair Lapid, chairman of the Yesh Atid party.
Lapid Slammed by Secular and Press for Shabbat Press Conference
Latest Sections Stories

Three sets of three-day Yomim Tovim can seem overwhelming – especially when we are trying to stay healthy.

Plotkin-092614

Is a missed opportunity to do a mitzvah considered a sin?

Teens-Twenties-logo

The sounds and scents of the kitchen are cozy, familiar, but loud in the silence.

Baim-092614-Plate

Everyone has a weakness. For some people it is the inability to walk past a sales rack without dropping a few hundred dollars. For others, it’s the inability to keep their house organized.

His entire life was dedicated to Torah and he became a pivotal figure in the transmittal of the Oral Torah to the next generation.

When you don’t have anyone else to turn to… that’s when you’re tied to Hashem the closest.

While we all go to restaurants for a good meal, it is dessert, that final taste that lingers in your mouth, that is the crown jewel of any dining experience and Six Thirteen’s offerings did not disappoint.

Today, fifty years and six million (!) people later, Israel is truly a different world.

There will always be items that don’t freeze well – salads and some rice- or potato-based dishes – so you need to leave time to prepare or cook them closer to Yom Tov and ensure there is enough room in the refrigerator to store them.

In Uzbekistan, in the early twentieth century, it was the women who wore the pants.

This is an important one in raising a mentsch (and maybe even in marrying off a mentsch! listening skills are on the top of the list when I do shidduch coaching).

While multitasking is not ideal, it is often necessary and unavoidable.

More Articles from Dr. Yitzchok Levine

In 1787 Jonas wrote a letter to Congress asking that the federal Constitution guarantee religious liberty in the state of Pennsylvania.

Jonas Phillips

Like many of his contemporaries, he went through some hard years, but eventually he earned the rewards of his perseverance and integrity.

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 British evacuated New York on November 25, 1783, and Congress demobilized the American army shortly thereafter.

“Simple, modest, altogether unassuming, Gershom spent his happiest hours with his ever-growing family who were never far from his thoughts.

“Attuned to the ideal of establishing a new Zion in free America, they named their new colony Palestine.

Last month’s column outlined some efforts during the first half of the nineteenth century to establish Jewish agricultural colonies in America. In only one case was a colony actually established.

There were very few Jewish farmers in Europe during the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Indeed, in many parts of Europe Jews were forbidden to own land. Despite this there were some Jews who always felt they should return to the agrarian way of life their forefathers had pursued in ancient times, and that America was an ideal place to establish Jewish agricultural colonies.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/glimpses-ajh/a-special-flag-for-abraham-lincoln/2013/01/31/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: