In Israel, a new five month scholarship program being offered to young aspiring athletes – one of them could be you.
The year 2004 marked the 350th anniversary of Jewish settlement in America. In 1654 the first Jews arrived from Brazil to take up permanent residence in New Amsterdam (New York). When the Portuguese re-conquered Pernambuco, a portion of northern Brazil, from the Dutch, the Jews residing there fled because they feared the return of the Inquisition. In 1654 most of the Jews living in Pernambuco sailed from Recife, Pernambuco’s capital city. Twenty-three of these Jews eventually settled in New York.
However, the Jews who founded a community in New York were by no means the first Jews to arrive in North America. In 1581 Joachim (Jeochim, Jochim) Gaunse (Gaunz, Ganse, Gans), a Jewish metallurgist and mining engineer from Prague, was invited to England by the Royal Mining Company.
“In 1584 Britain was preparing for war with Spain and desperately needed copper, a critical element in the production of bronze.” The English used bronze to manufacture “accurate cannons that gave their warships an advantage over the cast iron cannons of the Spaniards. This superior firepower provided by bronze cannonry proved crucial and was responsible in 1588 for the English navy’s victory over the much larger Spanish Armada.”
“Gaunse’s contributions to English bronze manufacture were monumental, and he was able to revolutionize their manufacture of bronze. He reduced the time needed to purify copper ore from 16 weeks to 4 days. In addition, he found a way to use the impurities removed from the ore in textile dyes. In an age when many still believed in alchemy (the ‘science’ of turning base metals into gold), Gaunse was a pioneer in the use of modern scientific research methods.”
Sir Walter Raleigh (1554-1618) was a British poet, historian, explorer, and soldier. Since he was a favorite of Queen Elizabeth I, in 1584 he received a royal patent to explore the Virginia territory in the New World and found a permanent settlement. The queen hoped that the colonists would discover copper, silver and gold, or at least find a passageway to the Orient. Sir Walter recruited Gaunse to serve as metallurgist and mining supervisor to this Roanoke expedition. “Gaunse thus became the first recorded Jew to set foot on English soil in North America.” Centuries later, archaeologists attributed the lumps of smelted copper and goldsmith’s crucible found in the Roanoke site ruins to Gaunse.
The Roanoke colony did indeed succeed in discovering copper, but failed to endure the harsh new environment. The Roanoke colonists were homesick, physically challenged, fearful of the Indians, and discouraged by the failure of the Royal Mining Company to send additional supplies. The colonists accepted an offer from Sir Francis Drake, whose fleet was passing nearby, to carry them back to England. Joachim Gaunse and his comrades left the New World.
Return To England
“Upon his return from the expedition, however, Gaunse faced anti-Semitism.” Soon after he arrived back in England, Sir Walter Raleigh fell into Elizabeth’s disfavor, in part at least because many believed that he did not accept a fundamental tenet of Christianity. “As a member of Raleigh’s circle, Gaunse attracted unfavorable attention. After moving to the town of Bristol, Gaunse gave Hebrew lessons to English gentlemen who wanted to read the Bible in its original tongue. This was not well received by some, and in 1589 Reverend Richard Curteys visited Gaunse. It became immediately apparent to Curteys that Gaunse was a Jew. Curteys asked Gaunse, ‘Do you deny Jesus Christ to be the Son of God?’ Gaunse replied, “What needeth the almighty God to have a son, is he not almighty?’
He was not afraid to openly state his commitment to Judaism despite the risks.
“Gaunse had spoken what was considered “blasphemy,” and he was brought before the mayor and aldermen of Bristol. There is no question that if he had been a Christian he might have been burned at the stake as a heretic. As the archival record indicates, however, Gaunse ‘affirmeth and sayeth that he was circumcised and hath been always instructed and brought up in the Talmud of the Jews and was never baptised.’ Therefore, by definition, he could not be a heretic. Instead, Gaunse was simply considered to be an infidel, a non-believer, much like a Muslim or a Confucian. One should keep in mind that in 1290 Edward I had expelled the Jewish population of England. However, by the time of Elizabeth’s reign, enforcement of the expulsion decree was greatly relaxed. Rather than deal with this Jew who was connected to the Royal Mining Company, Bristol’s town fathers referred his case to the queen’s Privy Council, which was composed of the mining company’s major investors. Gaunse was transported back to London for judgment.”
Unfortunately, the historical record simply ends at this point. We do not know the result of the deliberations of the Privy Council regarding Gaunse’s case. “Historians speculate that Gaunse was probably protected by his friends on the Privy Council, for whom his metallurgical innovations had reaped rewards. He might have remained quietly in England or he may have returned to Bohemia. There is no record that Gaunse was punished further, and his name drops from the public record.
“Joachim Gaunse’s experience foreshadowed that of many American colonial Jews: he was simultaneously an insider and an outsider, useful as a scientist but unfit for full rights in a Christian society. Recruited to America by Raleigh for his expertise, protected by the Privy Council for the money he earned its members, Gaunse was apparently accepted among the tolerant explorers of Roanoke. He was challenged, however, by orthodox Christians.
“Gaunse revolutionized English metallurgy and helped England defeat the Spanish Armada, but a year later he was charged with blasphemy and forced to withdraw from public – and the historical record. Despite his contributions to English and American history, Gaunse remained on the margins of society simply because he was a Jew.”
 Joachim Gaunse www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/Gaunse.html
 The First Jew in America judaism.about.com/od/americanjewry/f/firstamjew.htm
 Joachim Gaunse www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/Gaunse.html
Dr. Yitzchok Levine is a professor in the department of Mathematical Sciences at Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, New Jersey. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
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Leah Katz, a TeenZone camper at Oorah’s TheZone summer camp and an 11th grader at Midwood High School, read her winning essay about how TheZone changed her views on Judaism at the Jewish Heritage Awards Ceremony held at Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes’s office in April. The purpose of the Jewish Heritage Essay Contest is to acquaint public school students with Jewish history and customs and to help foster a deeper understanding of Jewish culture. The contest is open to students of all ethnic and religious backgrounds. Leah’s essay is reproduced in full below.
Moshe Sharett, the head of the Jewish Agency’s Political Department, visited Egypt in 1945. In Cairo he met a most remarkable young woman, a beautiful journalist who was the darling of Egyptian high society – from high-ranking military brass, to culture icons and Muslim sheikhs, to the court of King Faruk.
The two proceeded to talk about everyday things and surprisingly her mother-in-law did not find anything else to criticize. This occurred a few more times, with my client changing the topic every time by complimenting her mother-in-law or mentioning something positive about her.
There is always a lot of confusion surrounding sensory processing disorder – mainly because there are many different diagnoses that fall under the catch-all phrase sensory processing disorder (SPD). Among them are three specific subcategories:
The doctor had warned us that even if we did everything right and followed the protocol after the follicle was of the right size, there was no guarantee of success. Fertilization still had to occur, and just like couples do not necessarily become pregnant every month, we had no way to know if we were actually expecting for two full weeks.
The next chapter of the award-winning novel.
Jewish Press columnist Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis, founder and president of Hineni, the international Torah outreach organization, recently addressed an overflowing audience at the Beth Jacob Congregation of Irvine in southern California. Rebbetzin Jungreis’s address theme, “Making a Good Relationship Magical,” was apropos for the evening’s main mission: raising funds for the Irvine community’s mikveh.
You have probably been planning your marriage since you were about three. Let’s fast-forward to a big milestone– your twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. (Don’t worry, you don’t look a day over twenty one!) Now, would you appreciate your husband buying you a dozen roses that some florist recommended?
As I mentioned in my earlier articles about our family trip to Israel, our night flight went pretty smooth, thanks to my children’s willingness to sleep throughout the flight. I, on the other hand, didn’t sleep a wink and I wasn’t feeling too great by the time we landed. But we were finally in Israel, and just being in the beautifully renovated Ben Gurion airport and hearing all the Hebrew around us was exciting enough.
While all the flowers that grace your Shavuos table will surely be a delight to your eye, these will be a delight for your palette as well. Create them at any level, simple or sophisticated; any way you make them they’re sure to be a sensation.
Welcome back to “You’re Asking Me?” where we attempt to answer questions sent in by people who fortunately have fake names, so they won’t be embarrassed. I don’t know how they got through school, though.
Speechless wonder is the reaction to the beautiful vision seen though the Arch of the Keshet Cave at the Adamit Park in the Galilee. One of the most amazing natural wonders in Eretz Yisrael, the Me’arat Hakeshet — also known as the Rainbow Cave or Arch Cave — can be found up against the Israel-Lebanon border just a few kilometers from Rosh Hanikra and the sparkling blue Mediterranean Sea. It is situated amid the wild scenery on the cliffs of Nachal Betzet and Nachal Namer, on the Adamit Ridge.
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.
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 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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/glimpses-ajh/the-first-jew-to-live-in-north-america/2005/05/04/
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