Skip to comments.God Delivered the Pilgrims—and My People
Posted on 11/28/2013 8:05:43 AM PST by SJackson
Thanksgiving always had particular resonance for one group of religious freedom-seekers.
The once-in-a-lifetime convergence of Thanksgiving Day with the first day of Hanukkah has inspired culinary fusions like deep-fried turkey, song parodies and clever T-shirts. One enterprising lad has even invented the "Menurkey": a menorah (candelabrum) in the shape of a turkey. Humor aside, one group of American Jewsthe members of New York's Congregation Shearith Israel have reason to find in this year's calendrical happenstance a source both of institutional memory and of profound pride. Of all American synagogues, Shearith Israel has been celebrating both Hanukkah and Thanksgiving from the very beginning.
As with the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock, the origins of Shearith Israel trace back to a small group of religious freedom-seekers and a treacherous ocean passage to the New World. In September 1654, 23 Jews set sail from Recife, Brazil, where the Portuguese Inquisition had made practicing Judaism impossible. Intending to return to Europe but captured by pirates mid-voyage, they gave themselves up for lostuntil, as a congregational history puts it, "God caused a savior to arise unto them, the captain of a French ship arrayed for battle, and he rescued them out of the hands of the outlaws . . . and conducted them until they reached the end of the inhabited earth called New Holland."
Once arrived safely in New Holland, better known as New Amsterdam, the refugees formed the first Jewish community in North America.
At the beginning of the 18th century, Shearith Israelthe name means "the remnant of Israel"was importing its clergy from Europe. But by 1768, it was ready to hire its first American-born minister, Gershom Mendes Seixas. And it is here that the story of Shearith Israel becomes forever intertwined with the story of Thanksgivingand of America.
(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...
If youd like to be on or off, please FR mail me.
A good editorial, unfortunately the Wall St Journal, so unavailable to non subscribers. A week old, I was hoping it would be republished elsewhere, like the Synagogues website, but I haven't found it yet.
This convergence of Thanksgiving and Hanukah not having happened since 1888 and not predicted for thousands (not sure I believe that) of years, Shearith Israel has been celebrating Thanksgiving since 1789.
In his sermon, delivered Nov. 26, 1789, he expressed his profound gratitude for a government that was "founded upon the strictest principles of equal liberty and justice." In a Thanksgiving Day service several years later, Seixas declared: "As Jews, we are even more than others called upon to return thanks to God for placing us in such a countrywhere we are free to act according to the dictates of conscience, and where no exception is taken from following the principles of our religion."
Throughout its history, the members of Shearith Israel have observed Thanksgiving by reciting in synagogue the same psalms of praise and gratitude sung by Jews all over the world on festive days like Hanukkah. This year, thanks to the coincidence of the two holidays, our members will be joined by a global chorus of their coreligionists.
So sad that we cannot read the whole thing. Perhaps a FReeper with a WSJ subscription will happen along and post the rest for us.
Well, I posted the beginning and an excerpt in my comment, maybe someone else will fill the rest in. Years ago I posted lots of editorials from the WSJ. Virtually none since they adopted the excerpt policy. I understand it, a pay site can’t have their content reproduced in total, but it’s a shame.
There are no coincidences in Elohim's universe. shalom b'SHEM Yah'shua HaMashiach
Yes, I’m on their email list and they send me teaser editorials nearly every day, but I can’t read them. Makes me mad.
Thanks to the great American Rabbi Soloveichik for keeping some history true. That’s especially important during this time of increased publishing of revisionism from foreign interests.
If youd like to be on or off, please FR mail me.
Thanks EinNYC. Complete article in post 9
see post 9
THank you for posting the article and thanks for the ping.
Having undertaken, for the Glory of God, and advancements of the Christian faith and honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the Northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents, solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God, and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic; for our better ordering, and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.In witness whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names at Cape Cod the 11th of November, in the year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord King James, of England, France, and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth, 1620.
Interesting, and very enlightening! Thanks for posting it!
I can’t access the full story at the link.