fter seven centuries of
which included episodes of
forced conversions and massacres, Ferdinand and Isabella
drove the last of the
Muslims out of Spain
The same year they sent
on his voyage to find a
India and China,
as Muslims had cut off the
Under the pretense that some Muslims might be staying in Spain posing as Jews, possibly to attempt a coup, King Ferdinand decided to order all
to convert or leave, thus
ending one of the largest and most prosperous Sephardic Jewish communities in the world.
This was similar to
Jews being expelled from England
Recently, in regret, on December 13, 2016,
King Felipe VI of Spain
addressed the Conference of European Rabbis:
"Our European identity cannot be understood nor complete without taking into account the decisive
contribution of the Jews,
who have lived in the continent since the dawn of history ...
Now--as it did then--Europe needs the invaluable contribution of its Jewish communities, because we need to be honest and respectful to both
our common Judeo-Christian values and origins ...
Esteemed rabbis, I welcome you to Spain,
an open and tolerant country in which respect for diversity is a defining characteristic.
We are also filled with pride by
Spain's active and flourishing Jewish community
... (whose) rites, liturgy, renowned surnames, ballads, proverbs and seasonings ... should never have allowed to be lost ... "
King Felipe VI
" (In) 1992 ... after entering the Ben Yaacob Synagogue in Madrid, the
was marked by the words of
my father King Juan Carlos:
'Spanish Jews are in their homeland' ...
efforts in recent years to
return the country's Jewish culture to its rightful state
are simply a duty in the name of justice.
The Sephardim's unyielding love and loyalty towards Spain represents a powerful example ... who, for five centuries, stayed true to their heritage."
In 1492, some of the
went to the
some went to
and some went to
which was Europe's center of religious toleration.
migrated to Holland's largest city of
which in the 1600s became
the wealthiest city in the world.
Holland's University of Leiden
was a center of the study of
Hebrew, Aramaic and Syriac,
with a Jewish rabbi as a professor.
In 1607, the
fled from the King of England across the English Channel to live in
then across the
identified with the
whose ancestors fled from the
Pharaoh of Egypt
Puritans and Congregationalists
Yale President Ezra Styles
identified the country as
Harvard President Rev. Samuel Langdon
gave an address to the New Hampshire ratifying Convention, titled
"The Republic of the Israelites an example to the American States,"
June 5, 1788, stating:
may be considered as a pattern to the world in all ages ... Government ... on republican principles ...
How unexampled was this quick progress of the
from abject slavery, ignorance, and almost total want of order, to a national establishment perfected in all its parts far beyond all other kingdoms and States!
From a mere mob, to a well regulated nation, under a government and laws far superior to what any other nation could boast!"
New Hampshire's delegates voted to ratify the U.S. Constitution,
and being the 9th State to do so,
put the Constitution into effect,
June 21, 1788.
Many Jews sailed with Dutch merchants to settlements around the world, including the
South America city of Recife.
There, Jews built the first synagogue in the Americas,
Kahal Zur Israel Synagogue.
When Spain and Portugal recaptured
the Jews were pressured to flee again.
Twenty-three Jews sailed from Recife to
Port Royal, Jamaica.
They then boarded the French ship
and headed north, but were soon robbed by a Spanish privateer and stripped of their valuables.
Arriving in the Dutch Colony of
on August 22, 1654, they were
the first Jews in North America.
Being totally destitute after their voyage,
the Dutch Reformed Church took care of them
that first winter.
THE ORIGINAL 13-A Documentary History of Religion in America's First Thirteen States
New Amsterdam Director-General
attempted to expel them, as he had previously tried to expel Lutheran arrivals.
The Jewish arrivals were allowed to stay, though, as the
directors of Dutch West India Company
shared a common sympathy with them, as both experienced suffering under Spanish tyranny.
were in a global contest with
over possessions in
Indonesia, India, Africa
and so they wanted to quickly populate the colony of New Netherlands for its defense and profitability.
In 1657, the
arrived in New York, but
Stuyvesant banished them.
In their defense, 31 residents signed a petition, the
but the signers, too, were arrested.
In 1663, the directors of the Dutch West India Company, after reading a lengthy protest letter written by
Quaker John Browne,
sent instructions to Stuyvesant:
"Immigration ... must be favored at so tender a stage of the country's existence, you may therefore shut your eyes,
at least not force people's consciences,
but allow everyone to have his own belief,
as long as he behaves quietly and legally,
gives no offense to his neighbors and does not oppose the government."
Jews were allowed to stay in New Amsterdam, but were initially not allowed to own a home, or worship outside their residences, or join the city's militia.
forces took control of
and renamed it
resulting in Jews enjoying more freedom.
In 1730, Jewish citizens in New York bought land and built the small
"Mill Street Synagogue,"
the first Jewish house of worship in North America.
During the colonial era, America's population grew to
which was approximately:
-98 percent Protestant
1 percent Catholic;
1 percent Jewish.
By the time of the Revolution, America's Jewish population was estimated to be somewhere between 1,000 to 2,500, located in seven Sephadic congregations:
, New York City, begun 1655;
, Newport, Rhode Island, begun 1658;
, Savannah, Georgia, begun 1733;
, Philadelphia, begun 1740;
, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, begun 1747;
-Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim
, Charleston, South Carolina, begun 1749; and
-Kahal Kadosh Beth Shalom
, Richmond, Virginia, begun 1789.
THE ORIGINAL 13-A Documentary History of Religion in America's First Thirteen States
From the 3rd century on, Jews scattered around the world followed the teaching of
Rabbi Samuel of Nehardea in Babylonia,
"the law of the land is the law."
This resulted in Jews refraining from trying to change the politics of the countries they lived in, similar to the practice of early Christians during their first three centuries.
This teaching is diametrically opposed to fundamental wahhabi Islamic teaching, which attempts to overthrow governments of host countries to establish sharia law.
Unfortunately, the Jew's insistence on non-involvement in city politics during the Middle Ages caused them to be held suspect by all political parties.
The American Revolutionary War was the first time since being exiled from Jerusalem that Jews fought alongside Christian neighbors as equals in the fight for freedom.
Jewish merchants, such as
of Newport and
s of Philadelphia, sailed their ships past British blockades to provide clothing, guns, powder and food to the needy Revolutionary soldiers.
Some merchants lost everything.
An estimated 160 Jews fought in the Continental American Army during the Revolutionary War, such as:
Lieut. Col. Solomon Bush
fought in the Battle of Long Island and the Battle of Brandywine, where he was wounded and his brother, Capt. Lewis Bush, was killed;
of South Carolina, the first Jewish State Legislator, who was killed in the Revolutionary War;
-Col. Mordecai Sheftall
of Savannah was Deputy Commissary General for American troops, 1778;
supplied provisions to American soldiers in 1779; and
-Capt. Reuben Etting
fought in the Revolution, being captured at Charleston. He was later appointed U.S. Marshall for Maryland by Thomas Jefferson, 1801.
Dr. Philip Moses Russell
was George Washington doctor, who even suffered with him at Valley Forge.
President Calvin Coolidge
recounted, May 3, 1925:
Polish Jew financier of the Revolution.
Born in Poland, he was made prisoner by the British forces in New York, and when he escaped set up in business in Philadelphia.
He negotiated for Robert Morris all the loans raised in France and Holland,
pledged his personal faith and fortune for enormous amounts,
personally advanced large sums
to such men as
James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, Baron Steuben, General St. Clair,
and many other patriot leaders who testified that without his aid they could not have carried on in the cause."
In 1975, a U.S. postage stamp honored
, with printing on the back:
"Financial hero-businessman and broker
was responsible for
raising most of the money needed to finance the American Revolution
and later saved the new nation from collapse."
George Washington sent a letters to the
Newport, Rhode Island,
"May the same wonder-working Deity, who long since
delivered the Hebrews from their Egyptian oppressors
, planted them in a promised land, whose providential agency has lately been conspicuous in establishing these United States as an independent nation, still continue to water them with the dews of heaven."
were few in America until a persecution in Bavaria in the 1830s resulted in many thousands immigrating.
The Jewish population in America grew from
a tenth of one percent
President Martin Van Buren
sent a letter to the
Muslim Ottoman Turks
requesting that they stop
killing Jews in Syria
"on behalf of an oppressed and persecuted race, among whose kindred are found some of the most worthy and patriotic of American citizens."
, "Father of Florida Railroads," was the
first Jew elected to the U.S Senate
He was joined in 1853 by Senator
Judah P. Benjamin
Governor David Emanuel
of Georgia was the
first Jewish Governor
of any U.S. State.
was the "acting" Mayor of Richmond, Virginia.
In 1832, Pittsburgh's 7th mayor was
, the first full-time Jewish Mayor in America.
Uriah P. Levy
first Jewish Commodore
in the U.S. Navy, fighting in the War of 1812 and commanding the Mediterranean squadron.
He was responsible for ending the practice of flogging in the Navy. A chapel at Annapolis and a WWII destroyer were named after him.
When Jefferson's Monticello home was decaying,
bought it in 1836, repaired it and opened it to the public.
He commissioned the statute of Jefferson
which is in the U.S. Capitol rotunda.
Samuel Mayer Isaacs
, editor of the
, wrote of the United States, December 28, 1860:
"This Republic was
the first to recognize our claims to absolute equality,
with men of whatever religious denomination. Here we can sit each under his vine and fig tree, with none to make him afraid."
In 1862, the
London Jewish Chronicle
"We now have a few words of the
Jews of the United States
in general ... The Constitution having established perfect religious liberty, Jews were free in America ...
They ... in a comparatively short time, prospered and throve there in a degree unexampled in Europe
time of the Civil War,
the population of the United States was 31 million, including around 150,000 to 200,000 Jews.
An estimated 7,000 Jews fought for the Union and 3,000 fought for the Confederacy, with around 600 Jewish soldiers dying in battle.
Jewish Union Generals were:
Leopold Blumenberg; Frederick Knefler; Edward S. Salomon;
Frederick C. Salomon
Jewish Confederate officers included:
-Judah P. Benjamin
, Secretary of War;
-Colonel Abraham Charles Myers
, Quartermaster General;
-Dr. David Camden DeLeon
, Surgeon General;
-Surgeon Dr. Simon Baruch
served on General Robert E. Lee's personal staff.
-Major Raphael J. Moses
was Commissary Officer of Georgia, and after the war began Georgia's peach industry.
During the Siege of Vicksburg,
issued his notorious
General Order 11
expelling Jews from the military, which
Lincoln immediately cancelled.
Later as President,
Grant appointed more Jews to high offices than any of his predecessors,
including governor of the Washington Territory.
Grant openly condemn the persecution of Jews, specifically the
anti-Jewish pogroms in Romania.
He even sent a Jewish consul-general from America to Bucharest to "work for the benefit of the people who are laboring under severe oppression."
Just as the
first Catholic U.S. Army chaplain
was appointed during the
first Jewish chaplain
was appointed by Abraham Lincoln during the
His names was
Rev. Jacob Frankel
of Philadelphia's Congregation Rodeph Shalom.
On March 1, 1881, Tsar Alexander II of Russia was assassinated and a pogrom began against Jews, leading to
over 2 million fleeing to America.
This was memorialized in the play
Fiddler on the Roof.
By 1916, the United States population was 100 million, of which 3 million were Jewish.
During World War I, President Woodrow Wilson wrote:
"Whereas in countries engaged in war there are
9 million Jews, the majority of whom are destitute of food, shelter, and clothing;
driven from their homes without warning ... causing starvation, disease and untold suffering ..."
"The people of the U.S. have learned with sorrow of this terrible plight ...
I proclaim JANUARY 27, 1916, a day to make contributions for the
aid of the stricken Jewish people
to the American Red Cross."
AMERICAN MINUTE-Notable Events of American Significance Remembered on the Date They Occurred
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