Home » JCentral

A Ship’s Tale

Submitted by
JewishTreats.org

Well sit right back and you’ll hear a tale…Alas, this ship’s tale is no three-hour tour, but the story of the birth of Jewish life in North America.

It is well-known that the first Jewish settlers in New Amsterdam (the Dutch Colony that would later be called New York) were met with deep animosity by the Governor, Peter Stuyvesant. While many settlers did come to the new world searching for religious freedom, these 23 men, women and children came to North America by accident!

These Sephardi Jews were fleeing the Portuguese conquest of Recife (Brazil), a South American city that had been under the control of the Dutch (who allowed the Jews to live openly as Jews). One can only imagine their horror when Portugal captured the territory! Fearing the Inquisition, the Jews boarded one of the 16 boats the Portuguese provided to all those who wished to leave the territory. Unfortunately, the ship never made it to its destination, the Netherlands. After their ship was attacked at sea, the 23 Jews were brought to New Amsterdam on September 7, 1654, aboard a French vessel.

The intentions of the French captain were far from altruistic. Captain Jacques de la Motte immediately sued the refugees for their passage (knowing they had lost most of their possessions). Two members of the community were taken into custody until the money could be raised (by appealing to their co-religionists in Amsterdam).

Peter Stuvyesant had no love of Jews (as governor of Curacao, he sought to restrict Jewish immigration and prohibited Jews from owning slaves), and he used the desperate state of these refugees to appeal to the owners of the colony (Dutch East India Company) to bar the Jews lest they become a burden on the government. His petition was denied, the Jews were allowed to settle, and thus began the Jewish community of New York.

This Treat was originally posted on February 2, 2011.

Copyright © 2012 National Jewish Outreach Program. All rights reserved.

Email this post Email this post
Bookmark and Share

Leave a comment!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.


+ nine = 13

Jmag Search
Search now! »
Please enter a zip code.

polls

  • How far would you drive for a first date?

    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...