Author Michael Hoberman will discuss his book New Israel /New England: Jews and Puritans in Early America, which examines the history of colonial New England through the lens of its first settlers. The New England Puritans’ fascination with the legacy of the Jewish religion has been well documented, but their interactions with actual Jews have escaped sustained historical attention. New Israel/New England tells the story of the Sephardic merchants in Boston and Newport between the mid-seventeenth century and the American Revolution. It also explores the complex and often contradictory meanings that the Puritans attached to Judaism and the fraught attitudes that they bore toward the Jews as a people.
Among the intriguing episodes that Hoberman investigates is the recruitment and conversion of Harvard’s first permanent instructor of Hebrew, the ecumenical friendship between Newport minister Ezra Stiles and Haim Carigal, an itinerant rabbi from Palestine, as well as the life and career of Moses Michael Hays, the prominent freemason who was Boston’s first permanently established Jewish businessman, a founder of its insurance industry, an early sponsor of the Bank of Massachusetts, and a personal friend of Paul Revere.
Watch an excerpt from a recent lecture by Michael Hoberman
This event is cosponsored with the American Jewish Historical Society, New England Archives.
Free. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-226-1226.