Jewish american life 1760-1780

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Post  Tue, Dec 01 2020, 9:07 am
I'm a doing research on jewish american life leading up to and during the revolutionary war for a novel I am writing.
I specifically want to know details on level's of observance of the more famous religious figures such as the Gratz family or Gershom Mendes Sexias.
I am also interested in finding out more about the Spanish/Portuguese community in Amsterdam and London at the same time period. And about the connection/influence of the Haskalah on these communities.
I did all the typical googling and have read a few books, I am looking for more. Anyone know of books, articles or papers?
Any references to the american communities at this time in torah literature (psak, correspondance...) would be appreciated as well.
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Post  Tue, Dec 01 2020, 8:02 pm
I have a whole bunch of books... pm me for titles?
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Post  Thu, Dec 03 2020, 11:09 am

William Pencak, Jews and Gentiles in Early America
Jonathan D. Sarna, American Judaism: A History 2nd ed (2019)--this book takes actual religious practice more seriously than many others
Dianne Ashton, Rebecca Gratz: Women and Judaism in Antebellum America
Laura Arnold Leibman, Messianism, Secrecy, and Mysticism: A New Interpretation of Early American Jewish Life (deals with issues like mikvah)
Laura Arnold Leibman, The Art of the Jewish Family: A History of Women in Early New York in Five Objects

Keep in mind that
** there were fewer than 2500 Jews in the mainland colonies prior to the American Revolution--at times there were more Jews in the Caribbean in place so you might want to think about the Atlantic world rather than just "the British colonies"
**There is very little halachic literature from this period.
**The first ordained rabbi --Abraham Rice, in Baltimore- didn't come to the US until the early 1850s, long after the American Revolution.
**Each community had only one synagogue--not until 1825 was there a second synagogue in New York.
**Tthere were no denominations yet--Reform was the first formal denomination and it didn't start until the 1830s in central Europe. No one would have used the capitalized word "Orthodox" either during this period.
** The Gratz family self-identified as traditional, but manyof the men over several generations married non-Jewish women who made no effort to convert. The women were less likely to intermarry, but because the Jewish population was so small, a lot of them (including Rebecca Gratz, the most famous of them all) didn't marry at all.
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