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January 30, 1976 - Image 21

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1976-01-30

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE DETROIT 111/1111r

A Bicentennial Feature

First Jewish Settlers in the New World

Editor's note: The fol-
lowing important article
on the American Bicenten-
nial appeared in World
Over Magazine. The au-
thor, Tina Levitan, stated:

The first Jew ever to step
fo9t on North American soil
was probably Elias Le-
gardo, who sailed to Vir-
ginia on the "Abigail" in
1621. By 1624 Rebecca
Isaacke was a resident
there.
John Levy received a
grant of 200 acres in 1652.
David Da Costa was a to-
bacco importer there ar-
ound 1658.
A far more important set-
tlement was established in
New Amsterdam where in
September, 1654, a small
sailing vessel, the "St.
Charles," docked at the
Dutch colony (now New
York) and discharged its
passengers.
-
Among them were 23
Jews, most of them Se-
phardim, descendants of
families who had been
driven out of Spain in 1492
and who had lived as Mar-
ranos (secret Jews) in var-
ious countries.
The trials of the 23 were
not over. Three were thrown
into jail for debt. Governor
Peter Stuyvesant told them
they must leave.
But during the next three
years, largely through the
efforts of their most outspo-
ken member, Asser Levy,
they managed to win the
right to stay.
By the mid-18th Century
their Cong. Shearith Israel
(Remnant of Israel) could
boast of close to 300 mem-
bers.
Rhode Island's founder
Roger Williams granted
religious freedom_ to all
who came to settle there,
so before long a Jewish
community developed in
Newport, the harbor city.
Jews who had once lived
in Spain and Portugal came
there in 1658. Jews also
came to Newport from Hol-
land and the West Indies.
Like almost every Jewish
community that developed
in America, the Jews of
Newport built a synagogue.
Jeshuat Israel (Help of
Israel), dating back to 1763,
is known today as the Touro
Synagogue and has been
dedicated by the govern-
ment as a national historic ,
shrine.
The congregation dis-
banded at the outbreak of
the Revolution when a
large number of Jews who
sympathized with the pa-
triot cause left the city
after its capture by the
British.
As early as 1680, before
William Penn took it over,
there were Jews in Pennsyl-
vania. They may have been
newcomers from distant
lands or Jews who wan-
dered down from New York
after they had won the right
to trade along the shores of
the Delaware.
Names like Aaron,
Franks, Marks, and Levy oc-
cur among the residents of
Philadelphia around 1700.
Soon they were joined by

other merchants and trad-
ers.
In the middle 40's of the
following century, they
built their first synagogue
— Mikve Israel (Hope of Is-
rael).
Some 60 miles west of
Philadephia lay the fron-
tier town of Lancaster.
Joseph Simon was an In-
dian trader, merchant,
and land-owner who set-
tled there in 1740 and pros-
pered.
By 1763 the county tax of
Meyer Hart was larger than
that of any other taxpayer
of Easton. He owned three
houses, an inn, and a store.
Aaron Levy settled in
Northumberland County in
1760 and started a netwcrk
of trading operations.
He was the first Jew in
America to found a town,
and named it for himself.
Aaronsburg, founded in
1786, still exists in the heart
of Pennsylvania Dutch
country. ,
Maryland had at least
one Jewish inhabitant be-
fore 1660. Other occasional
traders and travelers came
there, but there was no

Jewish settlement until
after the Revolution.
Jacob Lumbroso, a physi-
cian from Portugal, is men-
tioned in several legal docu-
ments as "ye Jew doctor."
He arrived in 1656, pur-
chased land, traded with the
Indians, and practiced med-
icine.
In 1658 he was brought to
court and arrested for not
believing in the Christian
faith, which was against the
law according to the Act
Concerning Religion.
The case is the only one of
its kind against a Jew in the
entire 13 colonies. He was
accused of attacking the
foundations of the Christian
religion. He was finally
freed under a general am-
nesty in honor of Richard.
Cromwell.
The colony of Georgia
was settled in 1733. In July
of that year, 40 Sephardic
Jews, refugees of the Po-
rtuguese Inquisition, ar-
rived there from London.
The first native of Geor-
gia is said to have been
Philip Minis, the first
Jewish child born in Sa-
vannah. The Union So-

Why 3 Must Read Torah

BY RABBI SAMUEL FOX

(Copyright 1976, JTA, Inc.)

mud tells us that the 10
verses represent the basic 10
men which are required to
make up the quorum for
reading the Torah in public.
They represent the commu-
nity at ,large and the 10
verses, therefore, remind us
that Torah reading in public
requires a minumum quota
of attendance.
Another version in the
Talmud tells us that the 10
verses represent the Ten
Commandments. This re-
minds us that reading the
Torah is done to help us
observe the command-
ments of the Almighty.
A third version of the Tal-
mud tells us that the 10
verses represent the 10 or-
ders by which the Almighty
created the world. This re-
minds us that reading the
Torah is to guide us into ac-
cepting God's wish as devel-
oped through nature.
It teaches us the supreme
faith that is necessary in be-
lieving that whatever hap-
pens in nature is the Al-
mighty's will and should be
accepted by man as such.

Three people are called up
to the Torah when it is read
on Monday and Thursday
mornings and Saturday aft-
ernoon.
The rabbis in the Talmud
tell us that the three people
represent the three classifi-
cations of Jews, i.e., Cohen,
Levi and Israelite. These are
the shortest readings of the
week. The idea is that ac-
tually all Jews should be
reading the Torah.
These three are the repre-
sentatives of all the Jews.
The impression then is that
the Jewish community as a
whole is reading the Torah.
Another opinion in the
Talmud tells us that the
three represent the three
divisions of Jewish bibli-
cal literature, i.e., the
Pentateuch, the Prophets,
and the Hagiographa.
The principle is that a
Jew and a Jewish commu-
nity should be reading all of
the Scriptures. The three
portions that are read are
representative of all scrip-
tures and thus a token of
the entire Bible.
Egypt Disobeys
It is necessary to read at
least 10 verses from the Bi- Sinai Agreement
ble during these times.
WASHINGTON (ZINS)
One version in the Tal- — Political observers here
are saying that when Israel
Ehrlich Urges
agreed to withdraw from
Knesset Election the Sinai oilfields it was
specifically understood and
TEL AVIV (ZINS) — agreed that the area would
Simha Ehrlich, chairman of be controlled by civilians
the Executive of the Liberal and that the Egyptian army
Party, declared at a press would stay out.
conference that it has be-
However, the Egyptians
come an urgent necessity to did not honor their commit-
hold new elections to the ment; as soon as Israel va-
Knesset.
cated the zone, Egyptian
Ehrlich stated that under military forces took over.
existing conditions a govern-
ment of national unity will
not be able to deal effec-
As I went out to seek
tively with the multiplicity Thee, Thou earnest out to ,
of problems facing the coun- meet me.
try.
— Judah Halevi

ciety, the first cooperative
charity venture in Amer-
ica, formed to support and
educate orphans, was
founded in 1750 by Benja-
min Sheftall, one of Geor-
gia's early settlers.
Jewish pioneers began to
settle in Charleston soon
after the founding of Caro-
lina in 1670. They were at-
tracted by the promise of
toleration.
In 1697 four Jews were
naturalized in the colony,
and one of their naturaliza-
tion papers still exists —
that of Simon Valentine, a
prominent merchant who
had come from New York. .

BJE Publishes
`Guide to Joshua'

NEW YORK — A new
guide to aid teachers in
presenting the Book of
Joshua in Jewish schools
has been published by the
Board of Jewish Education
of Greater New York's Jew-
ish Education Press.
"Teachers Guide to
Joshua," by Simha Fisher,
contains teaching units,
teacher discussion areas,
pupil exercises, and maps,
and is designed both to aid
the inexperienced teacher
and to stimulate the crea-
tive teacher to broaden his
approach to the subject.
Published in cooperation
with the Department of
Torah Education and Cul-
ture of the World Zionist
Organization, "Teachers
Guide to Joshua" is avail-
able from Eileen Roth, asso-
ciate in Marketing Services,
Board of Jewish Education,
426 West 58th St., New
York, N.Y. 10019.

Sinai Strip Given
to Egyptian Army

TEL AVIV — The United
Nations ,Emergency Force
withdrew from 92 square
miles of the Sinai Desert
cease-fire zone and handed
it over to the Egyptian
army, news sources report.
The transfer of the nar-
row strip of the UN buffer
zone east of the Suez Canal
was the latest step in the
September truce pact
worked out by Secretary of
State Henry A. Kissinger.

By 1749 there were
enough Jews in Charleston
to form a congregation,
which was organized under
the name of Beth Elohim
(House of God).
Cong. Beth Elohim was
the religious home of
Moses Lindo, who devel-
oped the fabulous Carolina
indigo trade, the backbone
of the wealth of the colony;
and of Joseph Levy, who
fought as a lieutenant
against the Indians in the
Cherokee War of 1760,
probably the first Jewish
officer in America.
In a few short years there
would be many more Jewish
officers in America and 300
Jewish soldiers — all 'fight-
ing for the cause of inde-
pendence.

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