Jews Have Been Liberal Towards Building of Churches, Cathedral Committee States

In connection with the recent gift of $25,000 by Mortimer L. Schiff to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. New York City, the Committee for Completing the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, in a communication to the “Jewish Daily Bulletin”, calls attention to the fact that American Jews have always displayed a generous attitude towards the erection of edifices of other religious denominations.

The communication of the Committee refers to a number of contributions by American Jews in 1711 towards a fund for building the steeple of Trinity Church, another Episcopal edifice.

“The following is an extract from the Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society Number 3, constituting papers presented at the third annual meeting held in Washington. December 26 and 27, 1894″, the communication continues.

“This article may fitly be brought to a close by a reference to a very striking incident in old New York history. Among the most interesting incidents referred to in the last number of this Society’s proceedings was that of the subscription list circulated in 1788 among non-Jews of Philadelphia on behalf of the synagogue of that city, to which the names of Benjamin Franklin, Charles Biddel, Wuliam Bradiord, David Rittenhouse and others were signed.

“It appears, however, that the Jews of New York more than seventy-five years before them, had exhibited a similar liberal spirit and apparently without any such direct appeal to them as was resorted to by the Jews of Philadelphia to the Christian subscribers. In a work entitled “Historical Sketch of Trinity Church”, by the Rev. Wm. Berrian, we learn that a subscription was started in 1711 toward building the steeple of that church, as a result of which £312. 13s. 7d. were collected the Jews’ contributions aggregaring £, 12s. 3d. The list of Jewish donors is as follows:

“Moses Levy, 11s. Jacob Franks, £1, Rodridge Pacheco, £1, Mordecal Nathan, 11s; Lewis Gomez, £120; Moses Michael, 8s. 3d; and Rabbi Abraham D’Lucena, £1. The above donations were recorded by Church Wardens David Jamison and John Crooke.

“Considering the time at which this subscription was started the insignificance in point of numbers of the Jews in New York at this period, and the financial condition of the donors this act of generosity and religious liberality which recognized no bounds of sects and creeds is indeed remarkable”, the communication concludes.

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