Today in Jewish History – Elul 14

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Sponsored by Aish.com: In 1729, Congregation Shearith Israel laid a foundation stone in lower Manhattan for the first structure ever designed and built as a synagogue in continental North America. At the time, New York had the only Jewish community in the country; it would be some two decades later before organized Jewish settlement began in Philadelphia, Lancaster and Charleston. Shearith Israel was the only Jewish congregation in New York City from 1654 until 1825, having been founded by Brazilian Jews of Spanish and Portuguese origin. Governor Peter Stuyvesant, known for his anti-Semitic views, had initially denied Jews the right

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Today in Jewish History – Elul 10

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Sponsored by Aish.com: In 1991, in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, a 7-year-old black child was accidentally killed by a car driven by a chassidic Jew. Within hours, mobs of African American youths took to the streets, setting fires, smashing cars, looting stores, and chanting, “Get the Jews.” Yankel Rosenbaum, a 29-year-old rabbinic student from Australia, was beaten and stabbed by a mob, and later died of his wounds. It took hundreds of police officers three full days to quell the riots. Lemrick Nelson Jr. was convicted for the killing of Rosenbaum, but an appellate court later

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Today in Jewish History – Elul 9

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Sponsored by Aish.com: In 1654, Jacob Barsimson became the first Jewish settler in New Amsterdam (New York), and a few months later a group of 23 Jews arrived from Brazil. At first, Governor Peter Stuyvesant denied Jews the right to engage in trade, own real estate, serve in the military, and conduct public religious services. Barsimson, an observant Jew, filed an appeal to the Dutch West India Company, and succeeded in gaining equal rights for Jews. In one incident, Barsimson was summoned to court on Shabbat and courageously refused to appear. In a landmark decision that extended the limits of

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Today in Jewish History – 24 Tammuz

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Sponsored by Aish.com: Yahrtzeit of Rabbi Jacob Joseph (1840-1902), the first and only Chief Rabbi of New York City. A revered leader in Lithuania, Rabbi Joseph was invited to come to America and lead a fledging group of Eastern European immigrants — at a time when America had little infrastructure for Jewish education, kashrut, and other keys to Jewish continuity. Rabbi Joseph fought vigorously to uphold Jewish tradition, but it was an uphill battle against a Jewish community that was assimilating, and against a government that was not yet fully supportive of religious rights. Tragically, Rabbi Joseph often bore the

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