Thomas Jefferson: Friend of the Jewish People

Thomas Jefferson: Friend of the Jewish People

Credit:Rembrandt Peale, c. 1800

Presidential trivia’s a hit here at Stand for Israel. Especially when it shows an American president displaying his (and America’s) friendship to the Jewish people.

A very important early American – and a Jew – Mordecai M. Noah served as U.S. consul to Tunis. Noah also wrote and spoke about America in its early years. More than two centuries ago – 202 years today – Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to Noah, now an important document of American Jewish history.

Jefferson’s letter to Noah came on the heels of Noah speaking at the consecration of a new American synagogue. Noah’s remarks to the congregation found their way in front of the former president and founding father.

Jefferson identified the anti-Semitism and hatred that God’s people have faced through the millennia. And, pointing to the democratic nation he had helped found, Jefferson noted to his Jewish friend:

Your sect by its sufferings has furnished a remarkable proof of the universal spirit of religious intolerance inherent in every sect, disclaimed by all while feeble, and practiced by all when in power. Our laws have applied the only antidote to this vice, protecting our religious, as they do our civil rights, by putting all on an equal footing.

We still strive to fight this scourge of history, anti-Semitism. So let us remember these words from the architect of this nation. A nation that still supports the Jewish people and stands for the Jewish state.

 

Tags: History Judaism presidents Thomas Jefferson United States

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