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Lincoln and the Jews

March 20, 2015
June 07, 2015

Marking the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War and Lincoln’s assassination, this exhibition focuses on the significant, and hitherto unknown, relationships and interactions between Abraham Lincoln and his Jewish friends and associates. At a time when Jews comprised less than one-half of one percent of the American population, and with the country rampant with prejudice, Lincoln’s positive and meaningful personal relationships with Jewish individuals not only arguably changed him but also had an important and lasting impact on the status of American Jews. Lincoln stood up to his anti-Semitic generals even as he depended upon them to win the war, and became an advocate for Jewish equality and acceptance.

Through never-before displayed original documents, artifacts, photographs, Lincoln's own writings, and first person accounts primarily from the Shapell Manuscript Collection, the exhibition will trace events in Lincoln’s life through the lens of his Jewish contemporaries, such as Abraham Jonas, who became Lincoln’s political strategist and “most valued friend,” and Issachar Zacharie, his enigmatic confidant. Furthermore, the exhibition will explore Lincoln’s profound interest in and connection to the Old Testament, as exemplified in his wish to see Jerusalem before he died.

Generous support for this exhibition has been provided by
David Berg Foundation
Offit Capital
Sandy and Ed Meyer

Jean and Bill Soman
Martin Lewis and Diane Brandt

Creative: Tronvig Group