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Isaac Goldstein, Acrostic, 1865 (SC-15402), American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati, Ohio. Courtesy of Arnold and Dee Kaplan, Allentown, PA.
?Who among the princes can be compared to Lincoln, and who can be similarly exalted??
The author of this poem, Isaac Goldstein, came to the U.S. from Poland in the 1850s. A resident of New York City and later San Francisco, Goldstein became a successful merchant and was a maskil, an adherent of the Jewish Enlightenment or Haskalah. Modeling their movement on the European enlightenment, the maskilim emphasized reason and intellect, encouraged greater interaction of Jewish life with the non-Jewish world, and stressed the study of both secular and Jewish topics, particularly pertaining to Hebrew culture and language. Goldstein authored many acrostics in Hebrew (a poetic style having a long tradition in Hebrew literature), a number of which he self-published.

Though little is known about this acrostic, it is believed it was written in honor of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 and printed as a tribute following Lincoln?s death. Appearing in the 24 June 1865 issue of the Jewish Messenger, this poem also shows the influence of Victorian poets of the time in its use of pious and sentimental language.

(A translation of the Hebrew text is available in PDF format through the "Download Image" link above.)