North America’s First Hebrew Textbook, and the Italian Jewish Convert to Christianity Who Wrote It

Devoted as they were to the unmediated reading of the Bible, and of the Old Testament in particular, many Puritans of 17th- and 18th-century New England were interested in learning Hebrew, which for a time became a standard subject of study at both Harvard and Yale. Rachel Wamsley describes the man who made possible the Hebraist aspirations of many early Americans, and his Dickdook Leshon Gnebreet: A Grammar of the Hebrew Tongue [in modern transliteration, Dikduk l’shon ivrit], the first of its kind produced in the colonies:

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Read more at Tablet

More about: American society, Christian Hebraists, Conversion, Italian Jewry

 

At America’s Best Universities, Biblical Religion Is a Curiosity, if Not a Menace

Oct. 20 2021

At the time of Columbia University’s founding in 1784, notes Meir Soloviechik, the leader of the local synagogue, Gershom Mendes Seixas, was made a member of its board of regents. A Jewish student even gave a commencement address, composed by Seixas, in Hebrew. In the 20th century, Columbia attracted numerous Jews with the relaxation of quotas, and was the first secular university to create a chair in Jewish history. Barnard College, Columbia’s all-women’s school, was itself founded by a Jewish woman, and today has a large number of Orthodox Jewish students.

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Read more at Commentary

More about: American Jewry, American Religion, Columbia University, Orthodoxy, University