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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

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

Meet Paul Revere's pal, the Orthodox Jew who played a key role in laying Boston's cultural and business infrastructure

By Michael Feldberg


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Set a high standard for civic leadership and charity

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | While some colonial Jews experienced difficulty living both as Jews and Americans, Boston's Moses Michael Hays created a different experience. Boston's most prominent 18th-century Jewish citizen, Hays set a high standard for civic leadership and charity. Without the companionship and support of an organized Jewish community and without legal guarantees of religious freedom, Hays thrived in the "first circles" of Boston society while publicly practicing his Judaism.

Moses Michael Hays was born in New York City in 1739 to Dutch immigrants Judah Hays and Rebecca Michaels Hays. Judah Hays took his son into his shipping and retail business and, upon his death in 1764, left him the business and largest share of his assets.

Judah Hays left Moses Michael Hays something else as well: a firm grounding in his Jewish faith and responsibilities. Moses served New York's Congregation Shearith Israel as second parnas (vice-president) in 1766 and parnas in 1767. Even after moving to Boston, Moses retained an attachment to Shearith Israel, appearing on its donor list throughout his life.

In 1766, Moses married Rachel Myers, younger sister of famed New York silversmith Myer Myers. In 1769, the couple moved to Newport, Rhode Island, where Hays continued his shipping business. Business reverses landed Hays in debtor's prison but, under a 1771 reform law, Hays liquidated his assets, gave them to his creditors and was set free. He immediately reestablished himself in the trans-Atlantic trade.

The American Revolution brought Hays a new challenge as a Jew. In 1775, seventy-six men in Newport were asked to sign a declaration of loyalty to the American colonies that included the phrase, "upon the true faith of a Christian." Hays publicly objected to the phrase and refused to sign, instead offering a letter affirming his belief that the Revolution was a just cause. When, after much wrangling, the Christian portion of the oath was omitted, Hays affixed his name.

Hays and his family left Newport for Boston ahead of the British occupation in 1776. Hays opened a shipping office in Boston and was among the first merchants there to underwrite shipbuilding, trade and insurance to newly opened Far Eastern markets. In 1784, Hays became a founder and the first depositor of the Massachusetts Bank, still doing business today as Fleet Bank Corporation. With his close friend Paul Revere and fourteen other Boston businessmen, Hays formed several insurance companies.

The Hays family filled a large brick home with 15 rooms and 31 windows in Boston's fashionable Middle (now Hanover) Street. The Hayses had seven children and, when Moses's widowed sister Reyna Touro died in 1787, Moses and Rachel raised his young nephews and niece.

Samuel May, Louisa May Alcott's grandfather, was a close childhood friend of the Hays and Touro children and recalled "Uncle and Aunt Hays" for their pride in their Judaism.

"If the children of my day were taught among other foolish things to dread, if not despise Jews, a very different lesson was impressed upon my young heart. [The Hays] house was the abode of hospitality. He and his truly good wife were hospitable, not to the rich alone, but also to the poor. I witnessed their religious exercise, their fastings and their prayers. [As a result] I grew up without prejudice against Jews---or any other religionists."

As Boston lacked a synagogue, Moses Michael Hays conducted regular worship services at home. The household library contained dozens of Hebrew books. The Jewish commandment to dispense charity directed much of what the Hays family did for Boston and its citizens. Moses Michael Hays provided financial support to beautify Boston Common, establish theaters and endow Harvard College. His children and nephews went on to distinguished and charitable lives. Son Judah Hays was the first professing Jew elected to Boston public office. Hays descendants helped found the Boston Athenaeum and the Massachusetts General Hospital. Nephews Judah and Abraham Touro learned to be successful merchants from their uncle and Judah went on to become America's first great national philanthropist.

Moses Michael Hays died in 1805. His obituaries in the secular press remembered him as "a most valuable citizen . . . now secure in the bosom of his Father and our Father, of his G-d and our G-d." Hays lived his life successfully as an American and a Jew, accepted by the Boston community with respect as both.


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



Previously:

An all but forgotten Colonial doctor who put his Jewish values before his life
‘I am a Jew, I am a Republican and I am poor’
Vindication of an American Jewish Patriot
Mordecai Sheftall and the Wages of War
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