Another Jewish Pirate

Moses Cohen Henriques, a Sephardic Portuguese pirate, helped the Dutch West India Company capture a Spanish treasure fleet in the Battle of Matanzas on this date in 1628. The capture took place in Cuba’s Bay of Matanzas, with sixteen Spanish ships intercepted, four fleeing galleons trapped in the bay, and numerous other ships forced to surrender. The Dutch took an […]

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Jews of New Amsterdam

Captain Jacques de la Motthe of the St. Catrine, who had brought twenty-three Jews to North America after rescuing them from a pirate attack, petitioned for payment of their fare on this date in 1654. His passengers had been part of a convoy of sixteen ships carrying Dutch colonists from Recife, Brazil back to Holland following Portugal’s […]

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From Job Loss to Guaranteed Basic Income

AUTOMATION AND THE POST-SCARCITY ECONOMY by Dusty Sklar From the Summer 2017 issue of Jewish Currents   THE IDEA of providing a universal basic income (UBI) to all families has begun to take root in the U.S. among both conservatives and liberals. For the former, it’s a way actually to shrink the welfare state by folding […]

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November 24: The Lens Grinder

Philosopher Baruch Spinoza was born in the Netherlands on this date in 1632. He made his living as a lens grinder and turned down numerous teaching positions while writing and developing the philosophical outlook that would be explicated (in part through mathematical argument) in Ethics, published after his death in 1677, a book described by […]

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July 1: The Gay Dutch Resistance Fighter

The Westerbork deportation camp in the Netherlands became operational on this date in 1942. Originally established by the Dutch occupation government to house German Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany, it became the point of transit to the death camps for tens of thousands of Dutch Jews. One year later on this date, Willem Arondeus, a […]

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January 31: Amsterdam’s City Planner

Samuel Sarphati, a physician who built the Amstel Hotel, the Palace of National Industry, a garbage-collection system, a bread factory, and a trade school in Amsterdam as he sought to improve the hygiene among poor communities, was born in the city on this date in 1813. An Orthodox Sephardic Jew, Sarphati lived in an Amsterdam […]

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December 5: Frits Philips, a Righteous Dutchman

Frits Philips, who headed the Dutch electronics company Philips and saved thousands of Jews during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands by requisitioning their labor, died at 100 on this date in 2005. While most of his family fled the Nazis to the United States, Philips stayed and kept the company alive. He had a […]

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O My America: Inward Bound

Sailing Down the Canals of the Netherlands by Lawrence Bush THE NOTEBOOK in which I’ve been writing during this vacation (my laptop is almost constantly out of juice) was a recent find as I was cleaning out some of my son’s remaining stuff, some ten years after his departure for college. The notebook has only […]

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June 3: The Dutch East India Company

Founded in 1602 and granted a 21-year monopoly of Dutch trade with Asia, the Dutch East India Company had its markets extended on this date in 1621 when it was granted a charter for New Netherlands, which would eventually become New Amsterdam, where Jews would settle for the first time in North America in 1654. […]

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