Shai Afsai

Benjamin Franklin, Mussar Maven

On January 17, Americans will once again commemorate the birth of Benjamin Franklin, honoring his contributions to culture, science and American independence. American Jews, perhaps, have double reason to celebrate. For Franklin (1706-1790) — in addition to being an author, editor, inventor, natural philosopher, scientist, businessman, musical-innovator, abolitionist, diplomat, statesman and Founding Father — also helped shape Jewish religious thought and practice.