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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

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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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Emma Lazarus: Writings and Philanthropy

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“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” Emma Lazarus (1849-1887) wrote these words memorialized on the Statue of Liberty. Lazarus was born to a Jewish family in New York, near Union Square, on July 22, 1849. She held a strong classical education along with fluency in German and French.…

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Civil Rights Law: The Legacy of William Kunstler

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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 

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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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The Lifetime of Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise

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Black and white photograph of Isaac M. Wise.

Revered as “the foremost rabbi in America,” Isaac Mayer Wise (1819-1900) was born in the Austrian Empire, the son of a schoolteacher. He received his early Jewish education from both his father and grandfather before moving to Prague to pursue additional secular studies. He served as a rabbi in Radintz, Bohemia, before immigrating to the…

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Harriet Beecher Stowe Correspondence With R. Isaac Mayer Wise

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On August 4, 1854, the renowned abolitionist and famous author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811–1896), wrote a letter to Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise (1819–1900) thanking him for sending her a copy of his recently published History of the Israelitisch Nation.  She wrote, “It is with some deep emotion that I receive from…

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