Israel & World Judaism

A Visitor from the Holy Land – Shavuot Sermon, 1733

Haim Isaac Karigal - A Sermon preached at the Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island called the "Salvation of Israel." (Newport, R.I.), 1773. Document reads: A Sermon preached at the Synagogue in Newport, Rhode-Island called "The Salvation of Israel:" On the day of Pentecost or feast of weeks, the 6th day of March Sivan The year of Creation, 5333: or, May 28, 1773. Being the anniversary of giving the law at Mount Sinai: by the venerable Hocham, the learned rabbi, Haym Isaac Karigal, of the City of Heron, near Jerusalem, in the Holy Land."

The first Jewish sermon preached and published in North America was delivered at Newport’s synagogue by an emissary from the Holy Land, Haim Isaac Karigal. The sermon was delivered on May 28, 1773, to celebrate Shavuot. According to Dr. Jacob Rader Marcus, in The American Jew, “He [Karigal] spoke in an Iberian patois that at…

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Letter From Shimon Peres to HUC-JIR Concerning the Assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin

Letter from Shimon Peres to HUC-JIR concerning the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

In 1995, the Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by an Israeli ultra-nationalist. The assassination happened at the peak of an anti-violence rally in support of the Oslo peace process, an attempt to create a framework for finding a solution to the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict. Rabin, his successor, Shimon Peres, and Palestine Liberation Organization…

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Black and white photograph of Golda Meir in a robe and seated in front of an Israeli flag.

Golda Meir was the fourth Prime Minister of Israel. She was born May 13th, 1898 in Kiev and immigrated to Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1906. As a child she was drawn toward helping others; she once raised money for classmates who could not afford to purchase textbooks. Her parents were set on her getting married rather…

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“Too Early to Intervene”: Rabbi Stephen Wise and President Franklin D. Roosevelt

Stephen S. Wise sitting in his study

Rabbi Steven Wise was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1874, before immigrating with his family (as an infant) to New York. He grew into one of the most renowned American Reform rabbis and Zionist leaders of the 20th-century. In 1922, Wise founded the Jewish Institute of Religion. He was also a founding member of the…

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Binationalism, Rabbi Judah Magnes, and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict 

Image of Judah Magnus.

Rabbi Judah Leon Magnes (1877-1948) is memorialized as a leader of Reform Judaism, a notable pacifist during WWI, and an advocate for a binationalist Jewish-Arab state during the years of the British Mandate of Palestine. Born in San Francisco, California, Magnes became one of the most widely recognized voices of American Reform Judaism in the…

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Rabbi David Philipson: A Voice in Opposition

A member of the first graduating class of Hebrew Union College (HUC), David Philipson (1862-1949) attended HUC following a direct invitation from Rabbi Isaac M. Wise. Born to German-Jewish immigrants in Wabash, Indiana, Philipson proved a prominent scholar. He spoke six languages, including: English, Hebrew, German, Arabic, Aramaic and Amharic. Perhaps you have heard of…

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The Kidnapping of Edgardo Levi Mortara

A black and white drawn, gridded image depicting the abduction of Edgardo Levi Mortara as a six-year-old child in 1858. On the right side of the image, Edgardo’s family appears pained; one woman has fainted, held up by another. The father’s arms are outstretched to the boy, but the boy is being ushered away by a representative of the Catholic Church on the left frame of the image and does not look towards his father. The image is crowded with figures, from family, to onlookers, to the boy, Edgardo, himself.

The tale of the kidnapping of Edgardo Levi Mortara (1851–1940) is not an easy one to sit with; nor was it amenable to ears in the years it came to pass. The boy, Edgardo, you see, was a Jew. Born to Italian Jewish merchants in Bologna, Italy, in the year 1851, Edgardo lived and breathed…

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