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Father Abraham [Lincoln] & the Children of Israel:
Lincoln and the Jewish Vote


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The letter that Philadelphia publisher and Jewish communal and congregational leader Abraham Hart, in his capacity as parnas (president) of the Mikveh Israel Congregation, wrote to Lincoln on April 23, 1862, enclosed a sermon and prayer that the Reverend Sabato Morais had delivered on the death of Lincoln's son, Willie. Both have been preserved in the Library's Lincoln papers.

Morais had a deep affection for Lincoln, and in his prayer were words, "which come forth from the heart":

Bless the President of the United States; bless him for his sterling honesty, bless him for his firmness and moderation. Rekindle with joy his domestic hearth; pour on him the balm of divine consolation ... Grant that the end of his career be the maintenance of this Government, unimpaired and unsullied as bequeathed by our illustrious ancestors.

Lincoln's reply to the "President of Congregation Hope of Israel," on May 13 is the only known letter Lincoln sent to a Jewish congregation. He acknowledges receipt of the -communication" and thanks Hart for his expressions of kindness and confidence. Three years later, Mikveh Israel and congregations throughout the United States joined in prayer and offered consolation to an again bereaved Lincoln family.


Sources: Abraham J. Karp, From the Ends of the Earth: Judaic Treasures of the Library of Congress, (DC: Library of Congress, 1991).

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