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.