Haven of Liberty: New York Jews in the New World, 1654-1865 (City of Promises)

Haven of Liberty: New York Jews in the New World, 1654-1865 (City of Promises)

Language: English

Pages: 368

ISBN: 1479803510

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Haven of Liberty chronicles the arrival of the first Jews to New York in 1654 and highlights the role of republicanism in shaping their identity and institutions. Rock follows the Jews of NewYork through the Dutch and British colonial eras, the American Revolution and early republic, and the antebellum years, ending with a path-breaking account of their outlook and behavior during the Civil War. Overcoming significant barriers, these courageous men and women laid the foundations for one of the world’s foremost Jewish cities.

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within their homes. The directors considered Stuyvesant’s concern about the spread of organized Judaism “premature,” instructing him, if and when it did occur, “you will do well to refer the matter to us in order to await upon the necessary orders.” A later communication noted that Jews “exercise in all quietness their religion within their house” and advised them to live close to each other as they did in Amsterdam. The company directors envisioned New Amsterdam with a group of Jews living in a

captured as a war prize, lasted fifteen years, ending in the Privy Council (royal cabinet). The Jewish merchants who bought the ship claimed the cargo as rightfully theirs, defeating the British owners of the privateer and the Crown, which claimed part of the merchandise as contraband. While not professional lawyers, merchants became well versed in pertinent aspects of the law and competently represented themselves and fellow traders.22 ■ A Colonial Silversmith of Consummate Skill A number of

Jamaica. This was but one of various petitions. Except for established merchants and the elite such as the Franks family, life was not easy for Jews in occupied New York, most of whom left no record of their lives.28 ■ Military Service Most Jewish New Yorkers who served in the military chose the state militias. Prior to the war, in September 1775, saddler Benjamin Seixas, brother of Reverend Gershom Seixas, was a third lieutenant in the Fusiliers Company of the First Battalion of the New York

immigrants embraced them all. They forged vibrant garment-workers unions, as well as unions of bakers and plumbers, teachers and pharmacists. They voted for Socialist candidates, sending Meyer London in 1914 to represent the Lower East Side in Congress. They organized the Workmen’s Circle, initially in 1892 as a mutualaid society and then in 1900 as a multibranch fraternal order in which they could socialize with fellow workers and receive health and social welfare benefits not provided by a

formerly kept Jews and Gentiles apart, particularly the dietary laws and laws of Sabbath observance. Some Jews remained observant. Harmon Hendricks and his family kept their rolling mill closed on the Sabbath and strictly observed kashrut. When on the road, “they were ready to live on bread and rice if kosher food was not available.” Sampson Simson, law graduate of Columbia, was “a very pious man, . . . an uncompromising orthodox Israelite” who was “so precise in his religion” that he had “his

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