Within the context of a bar mitzvah, Rabbi R.A. Belzer tells the story of the arrival of Georgia’s first Jewish settlers. Colonial America’s reputation as a haven for those seeking religious freedom is a well-known historical fact. The city of Savannah can boast that it is the home of Congregation Mickve Israel, Georgia’s oldest Jewish congregation and the third oldest in the country. For centuries Jews had been persecuted and forced to hide their beliefs because openly practicing their religion could result in torture and death. In the early 1700s, a small group of Jews living in Portugal sailed for England and then Georgia.
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