Page 203 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 50

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izens . . . May the children o f the stock o f Abraham, who dwell
in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will o f the
other inhabitants — while everyone shall sit in safety under his
own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him
Three early printings of the letter have each its own useful-
ness. The first, in the new republic’s newspaper of record, the
Gazette of the United States
(September 15, 1790), puts it on public
record. The second, its inclusion in
A Collection of the Speeches
of the President o f the United States
. . .
also, the Addresses to the
President, with his Answers . . . ,
Boston, 1796, places the American
Jewish community and institutions on a status of parity with
other communities and institutions of the new nation. In 1824,
Governor George Worthington, in his published plea for the
Maryland “Jew Bill,” which would allow Jews to take public of-
fice without taking a Christian oath, cites the Washington letter
in toto, as the authoritative statement on the pluralistic nature
of the American polity. (
Governor Worthington’s Speech on the Mar-
yland Test Act,
Baltimore, 1824.)
Similarly, publication of statements by leading rabbis on the
central issue agitating American political and social life in the
middle of the nineteenth century — slavery — brings into focus
the division within the Jewish community on the question. No
less than four contemporary printings of Rabbi M.J. Raphall’s
purported “defense” of slavery,
The Bible View of Slavery,
livered at the Jewish Synagogue ‘Bnai Jeshu run ’ New York, on
the Day of the National Fast, January 4, 1861,” are in the col-
lection — two in pamphlet form, published in New York and
Baltimore, and two in sermon anthologies,
Spirit of the Pulpit
and Fast Day Sermons: Or The Pulpit on the State of the Country,
both published in New York, 1861. Present also are Baltimore
Rabbi David Einhorn’s strong attack in his monthly
timore, February 1861), and its republication as a pamphlet,
Die Prosklaverei
Rede des Herm Dr. Raphall,
Baltimore, 1861:
and, for international flavor,
Moses versus Slavery, being Two Dis-
courses on the Slavery Question,
by the Rev. Dr. Gustav Gottheil,
“Minister of the Congregation of British Jews,” Manchester,
1861, later rabbi of New York’s Temple Emanuel.
Jewish participation in American political life can be illustrat-