The first Jewish colonists in North America arrived in 1654. From that moment, Jews worked to build and contribute to early American society and the birth of the United States.
Gemma Birnbaum and Melanie Meyers, the Executive Director and Director of Collections and Engagement at the American Jewish Historical Society, join us to explore the history and experiences of Jews in early America and their contributions to the American Revolution and the founding of the United States.
This episode is supported by an American Rescue Plan grant to the Omohundro Institute from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
About the Show
Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history.
It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.
Ben Franklin’s World is a production of the Omohundro Institute.
Gemma Birnbaum, the Executive Director of the American Jewish Historical Society, and Melanie Meyers, the Director Collections and Engagement, lead us on an exploration of the Jewish presence in Early America and Jewish contributions to the American Revolution and the founding of the United States.
As we investigate Jewish life in Early America, Gemma and Melanie reveal information about the American Jewish Historical Society and what its unique collections reveal about early American Jewish life; The origins and backgrounds of Jewish colonists and why they chose to settle in North America during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; And Jewish contributions to early American history and the founding of the United States.
What You’ll Discover
- American Jewish Historical Society
- AJHS manuscript collections
- The arrival and presence of Jews in the early Americas
- Reasons Jews settled in the early Americas
- Backgrounds of Jewish settlers in early North America
- Jewish settlement in early American Dutch colonies
- Resistance to Jews settling in early North America
- Establishing Jewish communities in early America
- Community life in early American Jewish communities
- Establishing synagogues in early America
- Marriage and intermarriage in early American Jewish communities
- Southern Jewish life
- Jews and African chattel slavery
- Jewish contributions to the American Revolution
- Haym Soloman, financier and spy
- George Washington and the Touro Synagogue
Links to People, Places, and Publications
- American Jewish Historical Society
- AJHS Events & Programs AJHS | Programs
- Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience
- Franks Family Papers
- Mordechai Sheftall Papers
- Haym Soloman Papers
- Omohundro Institute
- Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
- Robert Parkinson, Thirteen Clocks
- Schwab Starter Kit and $50
Support Ben Franklin's World
- Episode 121: Wim Klooster, The Dutch Moment in the 17th-Century Atlantic World
- Episode 161: Smuggling and the American Revolution
- Episode 185: Joyce Goodfriend, Early New York City and Its Culture
- Episode 232: Christopher Hodson, The Acadian Diaspora
- Episode 311: Katherine Cartè, Religion and the American Revolution
In your opinion, what might have happened if Jews had not migrated to early North America? How would early American and early United States history be different?
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