I wish I were going to be in New York City soon. I would love to see a just-opened exhibition at the New York Historical Society called "Lincoln and the Jews." It runs through June 7.
At the moment, the best I can do is surf around on the society's website page about the exhibit and to read The New York Times piece to which I've linked you in the first paragraph here today.
I was struck by this fact reported in that story: When Lincoln was born in 1809, there were only about 3,000 Jews in the U.S. By the time he was elected president in 1860, that number had grown to about 150,000.
Lincoln had Jewish friends and seems to have had excellent relations with Jews his whole life. Or at least after he first met some.
Lincoln and the Jews is also the title of a new book, published three days before the opening of the new exhibit.
It's intriguing to me that scholars seem to be devoting increasing attention to the status of American Jews around the time of the Civil War. Just three years ago, for instance, I did this blog posting about a new book called When General Grant Expelled the Jews.
I like this quote in The Times' story from a Lincoln scholar named Harold Holzer: "When it came to personal interactions with Jews or issues that had an impact on Jews, Lincoln did the right thing on every occasion."
Too bad that hasn't been true of all of our presidents.
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NO MORE SUNDAY SCHOOL?
Is Sunday school a dead institution among Christian churches? Well, no. But here and there, this report says, it's on life support. Does it have a future? Maybe. But nothing about its potential future is guaranteed.
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P.S.: I'll be participating again this year in AIDSWalk Kansas City to benefit the AIDS Service Foundation of KC. The walk is April 25. I hope you can help by making at pledge here. Any amount will be deeply appreciated. Thanks.