- Obama not worried about Ebola at upcoming African summit in D.C.
- Obama: ‘We tortured some folks’ after 9/11
- Obama administration asked whole D.C. Circuit to take on major Obamacare case
- Mark Levin: Topple GOP leadership or country will ‘unravel’
- Massachusetts to let police chief deny gun buys to those deemed unfit
- John Kerry condemns attack on Israeli soldiers, kidnapping
- U.S. starts to evacuate American Ebola patients from West Africa: Report
- Geraldo slammed as ‘dummy’ for backing Clinton’s bin Laden claim
- Israeli spokesman: No need to debate who broke the cease-fire
- 35 Palestinians killed; Israeli officer missing
‘23 souls’ find a haven
Question of the Day
NEW YORK (AP) — They were “23 souls, big and small,” exhausted after surviving storms and pirates on the high seas.
Those five words in an early Dutch document describe America’s first Jews, who had fled persecution in Brazil. They were captured by buccaneers in the Caribbean before a French ship, the St. Catherine, rescued them and brought them to what is now New York.
The exact day the ship docked is not clear, but the document dated Sept. 7, 1654, mentions the 23 men, women and children who stepped off the St. Catherine, starting Jewish history in America.
In the coming months across the United States, which has about 6 million Jewish residents, the 350th anniversary of the refugees’ landing is being observed with lectures, exhibits and gatherings.
The Library of Congress is hosting an exhibit on Jewish life called “From Haven to Home.” The National Foundation for Jewish Culture will recognize Jewish talent behind about 100 movies, from the Marx brothers’ “Duck Soup” to Steven Spielberg’s “Schindler’s List.”
A New York-based organization called Celebrate 350 serves as a hub for hundreds of activities surrounding the anniversary.
The original tiny Jewish community was at the mercy of the Dutch, who ruled what was then New Amsterdam. The Dutch Reformed governor, Peter Stuyvesant, who had voiced his personal prejudice even against other Christian denominations, viewed the Jewish refugees as “very repugnant.” Still, the 23 demanded to stay. They had no choice.
“But the Jews had to be unobtrusive, and the governor said that if they got sick or were in need, they had to take care of their own,” said Rabbi Marc Angel, spiritual head of today’s Shearith Israel congregation, which was founded 350 years ago by those first Jewish Americans.
After decades of worship in private spaces, America’s founding Jewish community consecrated its first synagogue in 1730 on the site of an old mill in what today is Lower Manhattan.
Shearith Israel’s small Mill Street synagogue was for years North America’s sole Jewish house of worship, until a synagogue was erected in Savannah, Ga., then others in Philadelphia; Charleston, S.C.; and Newport, R.I., where the Touro Synagogue opened its doors in 1763. Touro is the oldest synagogue still standing in the United States.
By Orrin G. Hatch
Procedural changes impede the chamber's traditional deliberative function
- Border agents cleared of civil rights complaints from illegal immigrant children
- U.N. condemns Israel, U.S. for not sharing Iron Dome with Hamas
- Ben Carson takes major step toward presidential campaign
- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- Porn-surfing feds blame boredom, lack of work for misbehavior
- Feds raid S.C. home to seize Land Rover in EPA emission-control crackdown
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- Pentagon wants extra $19M to equip, train Ukrainian troops
- Ted Nugent slams 'lying freaks' at liberal media: I'm 'doing God's work'
- Houston mayor: Sorry that police put man's blind dog on road to die
Top 10 U.S. military helicopters
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors