5 Things About Lincoln and the Jews

Honest: Abe Lincoln made Jews part of his life and work at a time when we were a barely visible minority in the young nation. The Forward turned to renowned Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer, chief historical adviser on the New York Historical Society’s exhibition Lincoln and the Jews, for five fast facts about Honest Abe and the Children of Abraham:

  1. Lincoln had a Jewish doctor — Issachar Zacharie, an English-born chiropodist who cured his corns and bunions.

  2. A Jewish photographer took the first picture of Lincoln with a beard — Samuel Alschuler, who made a portrait of the President-elect with the initial stubble in Chicago two weeks after his election to the presidency.

  3. Until Lincoln helped change the law, American military chaplains had to represent “some Christian denomination.”

  4. The last biblical quote Lincoln used in a speech came from the Old Testament — “The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether,” from Psalms — at his second inaugural

  5. Before the martyred Lincoln was eulogized at Easter Sunday services on April 17, 1865, he was memorialized at synagogues the day before — the final Sabbath of Passover week — and lauded as an American Moses.

This story "5 Things About Lincoln and the Jews" was written by Michael Kaminer.

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