Thursday, November 18, 2010

An American newspaper lashes out at a Jewish moser (informer) in the 1850s.

As you can see, this blurb in the Daily Cleveland Herald of November 30, 1858 reports from a story in the New York Evening Post of a rabbi arrested for illegally selling lottery tickets. Evidently he had been reported by another Jew, and was dragged out of the synagogue while services were being conducted, which the newspaper finds to be absolutely outrageous. As for the informant, he is called a miserable Jew:

The incident referred to here occurred in the Beit Midrash Ha-godol of New York on Rosh Hashana. The rabbi is Abraham Joseph Ash. He was acquitted.

(The picture of Rabbi Ash is from Dr. Yitzchok Levine's Rabbi Abraham Joseph Ash (1813-1887) from his Glimpses Into American Jewish History series published in the Jewish Press. It originally appeared on pg. 20 of Eisenstein's Otzar Zichronosai. Also see JD Eisenstein's History of the First Russian-American Jewish Congregation. The Beth Hamedrosh Hagodol here.)

1 comment:

  1. Interesting that the paper took such a sympathetic tone, and that it invoked the Mortara affair. The charge of "miserable Jew" reminds me of what Mordecai Noah reportedly said as a successful candidate for sheriff of New York County, when someone expressed unease at the idea of a Jew hanging a Christian: "Pretty Christians to require hanging at all."



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