Jews in the American Revolution

July 5, 2013 | Sharon Alterman

As we celebrate the independence of our nation, have you ever wondered about the Jewish population in colonial America at the time and its role in the Revolutionary War?

Jonathan Sarna, renowned Jewish historian, in his book, American Judaism, provides the answers:

“On the eve of the American Revolution, Judaism remained all but invisible to most colonists. No more than one American in one thousand was Jewish, only five cities had significant Jewish populations and only New York and Newport boasted synagogue buildings; elsewhere Jews prayed in rented quarters or private homes. America’s Jewish communities paled in comparison to those of Curacao, Surinam, and Jamaica. Each of those West Indian communities had more Jews in the mid- eighteenth century than all of the North American colonies combined. It is estimated that there were between 1,000 and 2,500 Jews present in colonial North America at that time….

We know that up to one hundred Jews fought in the Revolution, one of whom was exempted from serving on the city watch on Friday night, that three attained high office in the Continental Army, and that other Jews served as suppliers, bill brokers, moneylenders, shopkeepers, blockade-runners, and even manufacturers on a small scale. Haym Salomon, the best known Jew of the Revolutionary Era, played a significant role as Broker to the Office of Finance.”

Source- American Judaism, Jonathan Sarna, Yale Press, 2004

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events
jBaby
Mar
28

jbaby detroit! 5-week prenatal birthing class

Learn about labor, delivery, birthing techniques and newborn care — with a Jewish TWIST. The five week series is designed to help prepare expectant couples for labor and delivery and for life as new parents. It also serves as a great way for Jewish couples to meet each other before they have their babies. $136 includes all classes and materials.

Sign Up
Mar
30

Join us for the jbabydetroit! Jewish Preschool Panel

Thursday, March 30 | 7:00 PM Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit 6735 Telegraph Rd. • Bloomfield Hills, MI 48301 Learn about each school’s philosophy curriculum hours, before/after care options enrollment dates special needs assistance … and more! Each family that attends the 2017 jbabydetroit! Preschool Panel will receive one $50 certificate good toward Jewish Preschool […]

Sign Up
Mar
30

SPARC Invites You To Cooking With Kelly

Cooking Demo & Tasting with Kelly Rogers Victor Thursday, March 30 | 7-9 pm at the home of Dona Stillman Learn how to prepare a healthy, delicious dinner. Take home a side dish to serve on Shabbat. Kosher Style | Parve | $10. Registration is limited. KELLY ROGERS VICTOR is a writer, health coach and […]

Sign Up
Apr
13

A Kosher for Passover Night Out with NEXTGen Detroit

NEXTGen Detroit is hitting the town with a night of great food, fine wine and side-splitting entertainment… and it’s all Kosher for Passover. Join us at Go Comedy! in Ferndale for a unique improv show that’s taking on the story of Passover in a hysterical way that will put your Bubbe’s seder to shame. You […]

Sign Up