Jews and President’s Day - Opinion

Jews and President’s Day

Paul Finkelman | Posted: Wednesday, February 14, 2018 9:11 am

Next week is President’s Day, an amalgamated birthday celebration for George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. For Jews, President’s Day has a special meaning. Both Washington and Lincoln were remarkable friends of American Jews, and their lives and careers still resonate as models for religious liberty and the treatment of minorities in our nation.

From the moment of Independence until the end of the Lincoln administration, the United States was overwhelmingly Protestant, with few Catholics and even fewer Jews. In 1776, there were no more than 2,500 Jews. When the Civil War began, Jews comprised about one-half of 1 percent of the population, or roughly 200,000 of the total 31.5 million.

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