Jewish immigrants first started arriving in New York back in the 17th century. Some say the state’s very first Jewish pioneer was Jacob Barsimon, who came to New Amsterdam (later named New York City) in 1654. Here are three quick facts about Barsimon, New York City’s first Jew!
1) Barsimon arrived in New Amsterdam on the ship named “Pear Tree.” It is believed he came from Holland.
2) Barsimon fought for his religious rights! In 1658, he was summoned to court — on a Saturday! The court decided that “though defendant is absent, yet no default is entered against him, as he was summoned on his Sabbath.”
3) He did not remain the only Jew in New York for very long. Barsimon was joined by a party of twenty-three Jews who arrived at New Amsterdam the following October. It is believed this group came from Brazil.
Find out more about Barsimon, New York’s first Jewish settler, here!