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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

Mordecai Sheftall and the Wages of War

By Michael Feldberg


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The War for American Independence posed great hardships for many on the patriot side. The heat of the Philadelphia summer that plagued the Founding Fathers as they gathered to declare independence, or the harsh cold endured by Washington's troops as they wintered at Valley Forge, are but two such instances. Mordecai Sheftall, the leading Jewish citizen of Savannah, Georgia, an ardent patriot, was one of those who paid an extraordinary price for independence.


Mordecai Sheftall's father, Benjamin, a deeply religious Jew, was an original white settler of the Georgia colony, having arrived in 1733. Benjamin Sheftall married his first wife, Perla, in 1734 and Mordecai was born in 1735. Perla died a year later and, in 1738, Benjamin married Hannah Solomons, with whom he had several more children.


Despite the opportunities presented by the new colony, Benjamin Sheftall never became wealthy; son Mordecai fared far better. By age 21, Mordecai acquired land for cattle raising and, by age 25, purchased a warehouse and wharf on the Savannah River.


Like his father, Mordecai Sheftall was a devoted and observant Jew. Savannah had only six Jewish families, but n 1771 Mordecai found a Jewish bride, Frances "Fannie" Hart, whom he "imported" from Charleston, South Carolina. Mordecai became a founding subscriber to Congregation Mickve Israel in Savannah and provided the community with land for its first Jewish cemetery. Sheftall was the Jewish representative among the original five incorporators of the Union Society, a non-denominational philanthropic association formed by Savannah's religious organizations to assist widows and poor children.


Like a majority of his co-religionists, Mordecai Sheftall cast his lot with rebellion against British rule. In 1776, Sheftall was elected chairman of the revolutionary committee that assumed control of local government in Savannah. In 1777, he was appointed Commissary General of Purchases and Issues to the Georgia militia and was thus responsible for supplying the colony's soldiers with food, clothing and materiel. Sheftall often reached into his own pocket to purchase supplies for the volunteers.


In 1778,having proven his skill and selflessness as Commissary General of Georgia, General Robert Howe appointed Sheftall to the post of Deputy Commissary General to the federal troops stationed in Georgia and South Carolina. Before Congress could confirm his role, however, he was captured in December 1778, along with his fifteen-year-old son, Sheftall Sheftall, in the battle to prevent Savannah from falling to British troops. Some of the outnumbered patriots escaped by swimming across the Savannah River, but the younger Sheftall could not swim. His father would not abandon him. With 185 other Americans, they were captured and imprisoned.


The British interrogated the Sheftalls under great duress, depriving them of food for two days. At one point, they were almost bayoneted by a drunken British soldier. Still refusing to provide information about the American's sources of supplies and refusing to renounce the patriot cause, father and son were transferred to the dank prison ship "Nancy," where the British deliberately offered Mordecai no meat other than pork, which he refused. After several months, the elder Sheftall was paroled to the town of Sunbury, Georgia, where he was kept under close British surveillance; his son remained on the "Nancy." At Mordecai's urging, Mrs. Sheftall took her other children to the relative safety of Charleston.


Separation from family weighed heavily on Mordecai. Through the intervention of friends, he was finally able to arrange for his son's parole to Sunbury under the same restrictive conditions on his own freedom of movement. Things looked promising when American military pressure on Savannah forced the British garrison to withdraw from Sunbury, but freedom for the Sheftalls did not follow. Local Tories began to beat and even kill patriots in Sunbury, especially parolees like the Sheftalls. Father and son managed to flee on an American brig headed for Charleston and a hoped for reunion with their family, but were captured by a British frigate and transported to Antigua, where they remained prisoners until the Spring of 1780. In June, both Sheftalls were paroled once more. They headed for Philadelphia, to which Mrs. Sheftall and the children had fled, yet again, for safety. There, despite his own financial hardships, Mordecai helped fund a new synagogue for Congregation Mikve Israel.


Mordecai spent the remainder of the war in Philadelphia, seeking to help both the American cause and his own financial condition by financing a privateer to capture and loot British vessels. His investment does not seem to have paid off; on its very first voyage, the ship ran aground. In1783, when the war ended, Mordecai returned with his wife and children to Savannah, where the family resumed its life for several generations. The state of Georgia granted him several hundred acres of land in recognition of his sacrifices on behalf of independence. When he died in 1797 at the age of 62, his beloved home city of Savannah buried him with full honors in the Jewish cemetery he created.


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Michael Feldberg is the director of the American Jewish Historical Society. Comment by clicking here.




Previously:

Haym Salomon: The rest of the story

Francis Salvador: Martyr of the American Revolution
How Hebrew came to Yale
The Making of a Jewish Citizen

© 2006, Michael Feldberg