Politics & Government


Drawing by Ostendorf, 1975, of President Abraham Lincoln with Samuel G. Alschuler in Alschuler's photography gallery. The sign reads, "S. Alschuler's Gallery, Photographic & Printing Studio." The image is captioned, "Abraham Lincoln sits for ambrotype by Samuel BG. Alschuler in the photographer's coat as Judge J.O. Cunningham watches, Urbana, Illinois, April 25, 1858."

President Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous Gettysburg Address during the American Civil War at the dedication of the Soldiers National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  Five years prior to the address, Lincoln – who was campaigning for senator at the time – encountered the Bavarian-Jewish Photographer, Samuel G. Alschuler while representing clients in court in Urbana,…

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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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Civil Rights Law: The Legacy of William Kunstler

Deemed simultaneously a “great American hero” and “the most hated lawyer in America,” William M. Kunstler did not pursue law planning to become an advocate for civil rights. Born in 1919 to a middle-class Jewish family in the Upper West Side of New York City, Kunstler attended Yale University (1941) before serving in the Army…

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The First Jewish Senator: David Levy Yulee 

Image of David Yulee Levy with the caption: "David Levy Yulee former U.S. Senator and Confederate Congressman."

David Levy Yulee (1810-1886) was born to a Sephardic Jewish family in St. Thomas, West Indies, before relocating to Florida where he studied and practiced law in St. Augustine. When Florida became a state, Yulee was elected to serve. In 1841, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, though his position was disputed…

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Abigail Minis and Jewish Settlers in the Georgia Colony

Portrait of the life of Abigail Minis including a family portrait, depiction of the Minis family tavern, and her plantation.

Within six month of the founding of the Georgia Colony by James Oglethorpe in 1732, a ship carrying 42 Jewish settlers landed off the coast of Savannah. These Jews sailed from London, England, though most of them had Portuguese Jewish descent (refugees of the Spanish Inquisition), though there were among them two German-Jewish families, as…

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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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