Isaac Harby of Charleston, 1788-1828: Jewish Reformer and Intellectual

By Gary Phillip Zola | Go to book overview

ing to strike a comfortable balance between a narrow focus on the subject himself and a broader approach that outlines and clarifies the issues at hand, I hope to have contributed to a more comprehensive understanding of the Jew in the early life of the United States.

Whatever success I have had in shedding new light on Isaac Harby and the world in which he lived and worked is due in very large part to the help and guidance I received from others.

No words can convey adequately the extent of my indebtedness to those who have helped me to complete this work. Professor Jonathan D. Sarna, now of Brandeis University, my teacher and friend, encouraged and challenged me to set my sights on more ambitious scholarly horizons. Professor Jacob Rader Marcus, the dean of American Jewish historians now in his ninety-eighth year, took me under his scholarly wing fourteen years ago and inspired me with his love for the history of the American Jew. I appreciatively thank my teacher, Dr. Alfred Gottschalk, president of the Hebrew Union College--Jewish Institute of Religion, who provided me with the latitude to undertake this project.

This study was greatly improved by many helpful suggestions from members of the HUC--JIR faculty: Michael A. Meyer, Malcolm H. Stern, Samuel Greengus, Isaac Jerusalmi, and Herbert Paper. Professor Robert Rethy of Xavier University provided translations of two important German documents. Sonya Rethy provided excellent editorial guidance in completing this book. Lorraine Meyer (may her memory be for a blessing), the late and lamented regional director of the Cincinnati chapter of the American Jewish Committee, cheerfully volunteered to edit the original dissertation, and I benefited greatly from her careful reading.

I happily acknowledge the support I received from Herbert Zafren, director of libraries, David Gilner, deputy librarian, and library staff members Martha Fisher and Ida Selavan of the Klau Library and Marilyn Krider of the American Jewish Periodical Center on the Cincinnati campus of the Hebrew Union College--Jewish Institute of Religion. The assistance given to me by Abraham J. Peck, the administrative director of the American Jewish Archives, and by Fannie Zelcer and Kevin Proffitt, archivists, was invaluable.

Isaac Harby's descendants rendered much help: Virginia Moïse Rosefield and Perry Moses, both of Sumter, South Carolina, and Anita Moïse Rosefield Rosenberg of Charleston were among the first to suggest that previously unseen documents and papers might

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