A Forgotten Zion in North Florida

Dec. 11 2014

In 1816, Moses Elias Levy, a Moroccan-Jewish businessman, set sail for America from London to create an agricultural settlement for Jews fleeing anti-Semitism in Germany and France in the wake of the Napoleonic wars. Established on a plot of land in Florida, his settlement, named Pilgrimage Plantation, survived legal troubles and an attempt by a local merchant to burn it down, but was eventually destroyed in the Second Seminole War of 1835. The area where the Jewish colony once stood is now in the town of Micanopy, but not a trace of it remains. Brian Zimmerman writes:

On the grassy prairie lands amidst the sage brush and wilting oak trees, Levy arrived with the goal of building his Jewish homeland. He could not have picked a better site for a community founded on the desire to appease religious suffering. To finance Pilgrimage Plantation, Levy invested in a sugarcane mill and blacksmith shop, as well as a wide array of agricultural equipment and livestock, including horses, sheep, oxen, and hogs. Then, all Levy needed was residents. Those came as early as 1822, when [Levy’s partner, the Anglo-German Jewish banker Frederick] Warburg arrived in Florida with 23 Jewish settlers, all of whom had answered an advertisement in a New York City newspaper.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at Forward

More about: American Jewish History, Florida, Moroccan Jewry

Condemning Terrorism in Jerusalem—and Efforts to Stop It

Jan. 30 2023

On Friday night, a Palestinian opened fire at a group of Israelis standing outside a Jerusalem synagogue, killing seven and wounding several others. The day before, the IDF had been drawn into a gunfight in the West Bank city of Jenin while trying to arrest members of a terrorist cell. Of the nine Palestinians killed in the raid, only one appears to have been a noncombatant. Lahav Harkov compares the responses to the two events, beginning with the more recent:

President Joe Biden called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to denounce the attack, offer his condolences, and express his commitment to Israel’s security. Other leaders released supportive statements as well. Governments across Europe condemned the attack. Turkey’s foreign ministry did the same, as did Israel’s Abraham Accords partners the UAE and Bahrain. Even Saudi Arabia released a statement against the killing of civilians in Jerusalem.

It feels wrong to criticize those statements. . . . But the condemnations should be full-throated, not spoken out of one side of the mouth while the other is wishy-washy about what it takes to stave off terrorism. These very same leaders and ministries were tsk-tsking at Israel for doing just that only a day before the attacks in Jerusalem.

The context didn’t seem to matter to some countries that are friendly to Israel. It didn’t matter that Israel was trying to stop jihadists from attacking civilians; it didn’t matter that IDF soldiers were attacked on the way.

It’s very easy for some to be sad when Jews are murdered. Yet, at the same time, so many of them are uncomfortable with Jews asserting themselves, protecting themselves, arming themselves against the bloodthirsty horde that would hand out bonbons to celebrate their deaths. It’s a reminder of how important it is that we do just that, and how essential the state of Israel is.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at Lahav’s Newsletter

More about: Jerusalem, Palestinian terror