J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Monday, September 10, 2012

Hoberman on Puritans and Jews in Boston, 12 Sept.

On Wednesday, 12 September, the New England Historic Genealogical Society hosts Michael Hoberman, speaking on his book New Israel/New England: Jews and Puritans in Early America. This event is cosponsored by the American Jewish Historical Society–New England Archives.

The event description says:
Author Michael Hoberman will discuss his book New Israel/New England: Jews and Puritans in Early America, which examines the history of colonial New England through the lens of its first settlers. The New England Puritans’ fascination with the legacy of the Jewish religion has been well documented, but their interactions with actual Jews have escaped sustained historical attention.

New Israel/New England tells the story of the Sephardic merchants in Boston and Newport between the mid-seventeenth century and the American Revolution. It also explores the complex and often contradictory meanings that the Puritans attached to Judaism and the fraught attitudes that they bore toward the Jews as a people.

Among the intriguing episodes that Hoberman investigates is the recruitment and conversion of Harvard’s first permanent instructor of Hebrew; the ecumenical friendship between Newport minister Ezra Stiles and Haim Carigal, an itinerant rabbi from Palestine; as well as the life and career of Moses Michael Hays, the prominent freemason who was Boston’s first permanently established Jewish businessman, a founder of its insurance industry, an early sponsor of the Bank of Massachusetts, and a personal friend of Paul Revere.
Hoberman is a professor of literature at Fitchburg State University. I got to hear him discuss his research for this book at the Massachusetts Historical Society a while back.

The event runs from 6:00 to 7:00 P.M. at 99-101 Newbury Street in Boston. It is free, but the society asks that people email or call 617-226-1226 to save a seat.

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