Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Visitors at the Hebrew Sunday School

In the summer of 1840, Rebecca wrote to a niece about an occurrence at a recent session of her Sunday School. Just as school was beginning, two men entered the classroom. They said that the children outside had invited them in and asked if they might stay. Rebecca gave her permission.

As the classes ended the older of the two men stood up and asked if he might speak. He and his companion, he said, were Seventh-Day Baptists (a Protestant denomination, in general agreement with other Baptists except for the proper day for the Sabbath which they observe on Saturday).

The man told how he had been ridiculed since his youth for keeping Saturday "like the Jews." Now he "felt happy there were communities of Israelites spread over the land...he deemed it a privilege to keep their holy Sabbath [and] prayed God would bless them." His words, Rebecca wrote, impressed the children. The two men then quietly left.

(For an anecdote about a Jewish visitor to the Sunday School, click here.)

(This letter is in the Miriam Gratz Moses Cohen Papers, No. 02639, Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.)

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