One cannot fully appreciate the life and accomplishments of Aaron Lopez (1731-1782) unless one is familiar with the history of the Inquisition.
It was not easy to maintain tradition and religious observance in the sparsely settled American colonies.
"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.
In 1654 the Portuguese recaptured the city of Recife, Brazil from the Dutch. This marked the end of the vibrant Jewish community that had flourished under the Dutch beginning in 1630.
Many people know that on September 7, 1654, twenty-three Jews arrived in New Amsterdam (renamed New York after the Dutch left).
The year 2004 marked the 350th anniversary of Jewish settlement in America.
In the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries Jews in America did not face the level of discrimination encountered by their brothers and sisters living in other lands.