Exact matches only
//  Main  //  Menu

☰︎ Menu | 🔍︎ Search  //  Main  //  Contributors (A→Z)  //   Gershom Mendes Seixas
Avatar photo

Gershom Mendes Seixas

Gershom Mendes Seixas (1745–1816) led the Sepharadi Congregation Shearith Israel in New York from 1768 to 1776 and again from 1784 to 1816. Although not an ordained Rabbi, he served as Ḥazzan and was among the first Jewish communal leaders who was born and educated in the United States. He was also the first American Jewish synagogue leader to give a d'var torah (sermon) in English. Seixas was an ardent patriot during the American Revolution. He moved the congregation to Philadelphia's Congregation Mikveh Israel and was the Ḥazzan there for the duration of the war. In 1783, he successfully sought revisions in a constitutional clause newly adopted by the Pennsylvania State Legislature, which required a religious examination for seekers of public office. Seixas was one of the fourteen recognized ministers in New York in 1789 who participated in George Washington's first inauguration at Federal Hall in New York City. He delivered the first Thanksgiving address in an American synagogue following the adoption of the United States Constitution. (via his article in wikipedia)


A Closing Prayer by the Ḥazzan, by Gershom Seixas (Ḳ.Ḳ. Shearith Israel, 1789)

Contributed on: 27 Nov 2018 by Aharon N. Varady (editing/transcription) | Gershom Mendes Seixas |

A ḥatimah (closing) prayer delivered by Ḥazzan Gershom Seixas at a special Thanksgiving Day service by K.K. Shearith Israel in 1789. . . .

A Jewish Prayer for Peace between England and her Colonies on a public day of fasting and prayer, 17 May 1776

Contributed on: 15 Feb 2016 by Aharon N. Varady (editing/transcription) | Gershom Mendes Seixas |

Fred MacDowell: “Then, as now, war was looked upon by many as a great evil, especially between brothers, and many American Colonists only wanted the oppressive measures of King George III to be lifted, bloodshed ended, and peace restored. The nascent American Congress called for a day of “Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer” along these lines for May 17, 1776. It was for this occasion that this prayer was recited in Congregation Shearith Israel in New York. As you can see, a complete service was arranged for this occasion, meant to invoke the solemnity and seriousness of the occasion; after morning prayer, Taḥanun was to be sung to the tune of a Yom Kippur pizmon; a dozen Psalms recited, and then the Ḥazan would recite this prayer written for the occasion, and of course all were to be fasting. The prayer hopes for a change of heart for King George III and his advisors, that they would rescind their wrath and harsh decrees against “North America,” that the bloodshed should end, and peace and reconciliation should obtain between the Americans and Great Britain once more, in fulfillment of the Messianic verse that Nation shall not lift up sword against nation. Of course this was not meant to be, and six weeks later the American Congress declared independence from Great Britain, and there was no walking back from the hostilities which had already occurred.” . . .

הַנּוֹתֵן תְּשׁוּעָה | Prayer for the Government of the United States of America, presented by Gershom Seixas on Thanksgiving Day 1789

Contributed on: 27 Nov 2018 by Aharon N. Varady (editing/transcription) | Gershom Mendes Seixas |

The prayer for the government presented by Gershom Seixas at K.K. Shearith Israel on Thanksgiving Day 1789. . . .