Esther Abrahams and the First Jews in Australia

Esther Abrahams, born in 1767 (or 1771 by some sources), was one of between eight and fourteen Jews among 800 British convicts who anchored in New South Wales on this date in 1788, as part of the first fleet of British prisoners sent to colonize Australia. Abrahams, convicted of shoplifting silk lace in 1786, had given […]

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October 24: Algerian Jews

Jews of Algeria, numbering more than 33,000, were granted French citizenship on this date in 1870, a little more than three decades after France colonized the North African country. Algerian Jewish communities dated back to Roman times and the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, and were reinforced by the influx of Sephardim after […]

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August 23: Zionism’s Uganda Plan

The Sixth Zionist Congress convened in Basel, Switzerland on this date in 1903. It was at this Congress that Theodor Herzl would propose British-controlled East Africa (primarily Kenya, though described in most accounts as Uganda) as a temporary alternative to Palestine for the endangered Jews of Tsarist Russia. A vote of 295-178 would empower an […]

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O My America: Six Miles Per Hour

by Lawrence Bush SOUTHERN HOLLAND, at least what we’ve seen of it, is like a Richard Scarry book about transportation. If you’ve ever sat a young child on your lap and looked through one of Scarry’s categories-based, vocabulary-building illustrated books, you’ve visited Holland. The landscape is flat for as far as you can see (17 […]

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Is Israel a Colonial Settler State?

Perhaps, but with Lots of Provisos by Bennett Muraskin Peter Beinart, in an article in the September 26, 2013 issue of the New York Review of Books, wrote: “Virtually every Palestinian I’ve ever met considers Zionism to be colonialist, imperialist, and racist. When liberal American Jews think about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, they think about Isaac […]

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September 23: Uprising in Puerto Rico

A revolution against Spanish colonial rule in Puerto Rico began in the town of Lares on this date in 1868. One of the leaders was Matías Brugman, the Louisiana-born son of a Sephardic Jewish father from Curaçao and a Puerto Rican mother. Brugman, a successful grocer, had become resentful of Spain’s political injustices and was an […]

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September 24: Expelled from North America

French King Louis XIV ordered Jews expelled from French colonies in North America on this date in 1683. The order was mostly ignored where it would be most relevant, in Martinique, the Caribbean land with the largest Jewish population. France had conquered Martinique in 1635; Jews had arrived there with the Dutch in the previous […]

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March 28: The Founding Mother of Guyana

Janet Jagan (Rosenberg), who served as President of Guyana from December 19, 1997, to August 11, 1999 — making her the first elected female head of state in South America — died in Georgetown, the capital of her country, on this date in 2009. Born in Chicago to radical Jewish parents, Jagan became the wife […]

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