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Glimpses Into American Jewish History
Reverend Henry Pereira Mendes
 

Posted on: July 3rd, 2013

SectionsMagazineGlimpses Into American Jewish History

Beginning around 1840 the Reform movement began asserting itself as a major force in American Judaism. Indeed, with the rising tide of Reform during the nineteenth century it looked as if Orthodox Judaism might disappear. Many synagogues that had been founded by observant Jews and had remained for years true to halacha found their memberships increasingly calling for the institution of reforms and the abandonment of commitment to authentic Judaism.

Manuel Josephson
 

Posted on: June 6th, 2013

SectionsMagazineGlimpses Into American Jewish History

Last month we sketched the life of Manuel Josephson (1729-1796), who immigrated to New York in the 1740s. Manuel was one of the few learned Jews residing in America in the 18th century. His talents were recognized by Congregation Shearith Israel, and he served on the synagogue’s bet din for several years and as its parnas (president) in 1762. He earned his living as a merchant.

Manuel Josephson
 

Posted on: May 1st, 2013

SectionsMagazineGlimpses Into American Jewish History

The overwhelming majority of Jews who came to America before the Revolutionary War did not have an extensive Jewish education. One exception was Manuel Josephson (1729-1796), who was born and educated in Germany. His extensive knowledge of Judaism qualified him to serve on the beis din of Congregation Shearith Israel in New York.

Sabato Morais
 

Posted on: April 4th, 2013

SectionsMagazineGlimpses Into American Jewish History

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.

Sabato Morais
 

Posted on: February 27th, 2013

SectionsMagazineGlimpses Into American Jewish History

“Sabato Morais was born on April 13, 1823 to Samuel and Bonina Morais in the northern Italian city of Leghorn (Livorno), in the grand duchy of Tuscany. Morais was the third of nine children, seven daughters and the older of the two sons. The Morais family descended from Portuguese Marranos. Morais’ mother, Bonina Wolf, was of German-Ashkenazic descent.”

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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
 

Posted on: January 31st, 2013

SectionsMagazineGlimpses Into American Jewish History

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.

Baltimore Hebrew Congregation Building
 

Posted on: January 3rd, 2013

SectionsMagazineGlimpses Into American Jewish History

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.

Baltimore Hebrew Congregation Building
 

Posted on: December 5th, 2012

SectionsMagazineGlimpses Into American Jewish History

While it is not known precisely when Jews first settled in Baltimore, we do know that five Jewish men and their families settled there during the 1770s. However, it was not until the autumn of 1829 that Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, whose Hebrew name was Nidchei Yisroel (Dispersed of Israel), was founded. This was the only Jewish congregation in the state of Maryland at the time, and it was referred to by many as the “Stadt Shul.”

 

Posted on: November 1st, 2012

SectionsMagazineGlimpses Into American Jewish History

Early American Jewish history is unfortunately replete with examples of observant families who came to America and, within a relatively short period of time, not only abandoned much of their commitment to religious observance but even had the sad experience of having some of their children intermarrying and assimilating. One family that did not follow this trend was the Hays family.

 

Posted on: October 4th, 2012

SectionsMagazineGlimpses Into American Jewish History

For centuries Jews have believed America to be a land of freedom and financial opportunity. One such Jew was Moses Raphael Levy, who achieved tremendous financial success as an American colonial merchant.

Glimpses-090712
 

Posted on: September 5th, 2012

SectionsMagazineGlimpses Into American Jewish History

Last month’s column sketched the life of Reverend Myer Isaacs, concentrating primarily on his efforts to preserve and foster Orthodoxy in New York City, where he served as the spiritual leader of Congregation Shaaray Tefila from its founding in 1845 to his passing in 1879. Reverend Isaacs’s sphere of influence was not limited to New York. His efforts encompassed a broad range of activities throughout America designed to strengthen Orthodoxy in its battle against the Reform movement.

Rev. Samuel Myer Isaacs
 

Posted on: August 1st, 2012

SectionsMagazineGlimpses Into American Jewish History

Unless otherwise noted, all quotations are from “The Forerunners – Dutch Jewry in the North America Diaspora” by Robert P. Swierenga, Wayne State University Press, Detroit, 1994. The nineteenth century witnessed a decline in religious observance by most of American Jewry. Changes were instituted in Orthodox synagogues that led many of them to affiliate with […]

Henry S. Hendricks
 

Posted on: July 5th, 2012

SectionsMagazineGlimpses Into American Jewish History

Unless otherwise indicated, all quotes are from “Necrology: Henry S. Hendricks (1892-1959)” by David de Sola Pool, Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society (1893 -1961); Sep 1959-Jun 1960; 49, 1-4 AJHS Journal, available online at http://www.ajhs.org/scholarship/adaje.cfm The sad fact is that within a few generations virtually all the descendants of the Jews who came […]

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
 

Posted on: June 1st, 2012

SectionsMagazineGlimpses Into American Jewish History

The Jewish population of the United States in 1860 was somewhere between 150,000-200,000. Approximately 3,000 Jews fought on the Confederate side in the Civil War while 7,000 were found on the Union side.

 

Posted on: May 2nd, 2012

SectionsMagazineGlimpses Into American Jewish History

Usually Jewish history books deal with those who have made their mark by doing extraordinary things. While such people obviously are important, there are those who may not have enjoyed much fame yet whose efforts and accomplishments were crucial to maintaining Yahadus in their community. Two such men are Henry S. Hartogensis and his son, Benjamin H. Hartogensis, who devoted their lives to the Jewish community of Baltimore.

 

Posted on: April 4th, 2012

SectionsMagazineGlimpses Into American Jewish History

Washington, D.C. was created in 1790 as a result of a political compromise. “Washington was a Federal city. It did not have a ‘State’ government. It was under the direct control of Congress for even the simplest of things; schools, streets, courts and land use by private individuals and corporations. Accordingly, Congress dutifully passed on the last day of the first session of the 28th Congress, June 17, 1844, ‘A Bill, concerning conveyances or devices of places of public worship in the District of Columbia.’

Old B'nai Israel Synagogue and Cohen Community House
 

Posted on: February 29th, 2012

SectionsMagazineGlimpses Into American Jewish History

In 1519 Alonso Álvarez de Pineda, Spanish explorer and cartographer, led an expedition into Texas with the goal of finding a passage between the Gulf of Mexico and Asia. He and his men were probably the first Europeans to see the land that became known as Texas.

Reverend Arnold Fischel
 

Posted on: February 2nd, 2012

SectionsMagazineGlimpses Into American Jewish History

Last month’s column outlined the struggle that took place at the beginning of the Civil War to get Congress to allow the appointment of Jewish army chaplains. Originally only Christian clergymen could serve as chaplains, and it was only as a result of pressure from the American Jewish community that in 1861 Congress passed a new law allowing ordained clergy of other religions to serve as chaplains. The Reverend Arnold (Adolph) Fischel (1830-1894) played a key role in this effort.

 

Posted on: January 4th, 2012

SectionsMagazineGlimpses Into American Jewish History

“The American tradition of the military chaplaincy is as old as the United States itself. Clergymen served with the armies of the individual colonies almost from the first battle of the Revolution, and provisions for the payment of chaplains were enacted by the Continental Congress as early as 1775.

 

Posted on: November 30th, 2011

In PrintFrom the Paper

During the nineteenth century a large number of American Jews abandoned traditional religious observance. This led to the United States being dubbed “di treifene medina” (the irreligious land).

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