Quick Click: Vignettes from the Jewish News Feb. 12, 2015
Much like the division of the greater United States during this time, most Jewish citizens based their opinions on slavery and the Civil War largely upon their geographical location; Southern Jews aligned with the Confederacy and Northern Jews aligned with the Union.
There were vocal advocates for both sides. For example, Rabbi David Einhorn and Ernestine Rose were two prominent abolitionists. In response to the question of the Jewish role in abolitionism, Einhorn exclaimed, “It is the duty of Jews to fight bigotry since, for thousands of years, Jews have consciously or unconsciously fought for freedom of conscience.”
It is estimated that Jews fought on both sides of the war in greater numbers than their percentage of the population. Moreover, six Jewish soldiers in the Union Army received the highest American military honor: the Congressional Medal of Honor.
On Jan. 21, 1955, the Detroit Jewish News ran a historical cartoon about Jews and the Civil War.
Want to learn more? Go to the DJN Foundation archives, available for free at www.djnfoundation.org.
By Meghan McGowen, Detroit Jewish News Foundation Fellow