_All Snapshots

Mikveh Israel’s burial ground – Philadelphia, 1740

Image of the inside of Mikveh Israel, including central bima, ark, and separated, gender-based seating on different levels.

Although Mikveh Israel, Philadelphia’s first synagogue, was not founded until 1782, the land for its cemetery has an earlier history. A burial plot was first bought by Nathan Levy in 1738 when he suddenly needed a burial place for one of his children, and land was made available to him by Thomas Penn, the son…

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Jews arrive in the New World

Artistic rendition of the arrival of Jews to New Amsterdam. Depicts a ship arriving at port, with wood-built buildings behind ocean waves and a cloudy sky.

The first known Jew to arrive in America was Jacob Barsimson on August 22, 1654, and he was joined by twenty-three more Jews four months later, although most of them stayed in New Amsterdam only for a short time. Peter Stuyvesant, Governor of New Amsterdam, was not happy about having a Jewish population in the…

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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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The Highest Ranking American Jew in WWII

Black and white photograph of Major General Maurice Rose.

Major General Maurice Rose is said to be the “greatest forgotten commander of World War II.” He joined the military in 1916 as a private and served along the Mexican border before fighting in the 89th division in France in 1917. He rose through the ranks and during World War II he fought in the…

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One Jew’s Financial Support for the Revolutionary War

Black and white portrait of Haym Salomon in formal attire with a landscape background.

Haym Salomon (1740-1785), a Polish immigrant and New York City financial broker, was one of the largest Patriot financiers of the Revolutionary War. During the war, he was arrested by the British as a spy and forced to work as a German translator. Salomon used his position to convince German mercenary soldiers to disband and…

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Jacob Rader Marcus (1896-1995): the “Dean” of American Jewish historians

Photo collage of Jacob Rader Marcus.

Jacob Rader Marcus, the founder of the American Jewish Archives (AJA), was born in Connelsville, PA on March 5, 1896. Known as the “Dean” of American Jewish historians, Dr. Marcus was the first American born, scientifically trained historian to earn an academic Ph.D. to examine the American Jewish experience. . In 1947—with the great centers…

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The Life, Work and Lasting Impact of R. Isaac Mayer Wise (Video)

Photograph of Rabbi Isaac M. Wise retrieved from a scrapbook compiled of his life and death. The image is attached the the paper and covered with dried leaves and flowers.

The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives has produced a 10-minute video illuminating the life, work and lasting impact of Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise—the pioneering architect of American Reform Judaism. It was created in commemoration of the bicentennial of Rabbi Wise’s birth. This program can be used to teach teens, young adult…

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Jewish Roots of the Pulitzer Prize

Collage including black and white photograph of Joseph Pulitzer, two medals, and his autograph

Born in Makó, Hungary on April 10, 1847 to two Jewish parents, Joseph Pulitzer emigrated to the U.S. in 1864 to fight in the Civil War. After moving to St. Louis, Joseph became a naturalized citizen in 1867, passed the bar, served in the state legislature, and began reporting for the Westliche Post. He bought…

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Two 19th-century ketubot

Two 19th-century ketubot. The first is from 1857 and is for the marriage of Solomon Joseph and Rebecca Abraham, both of Charleston, S.C. The other is from 1873 and is for the marriage of David Nieto and Esther Belasco—residents of Kingston, Jamaica.

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