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Sat Jan 17 2009, 03:56PM

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Joined: Thu Jul 19 2007, 11:39AM
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Sat Jan 25 2014, 11:07AM

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Joined: Tue Jul 17 2007, 10:46AM
Posts: 3631
Israelites in Grey

Often overlooked in War Between the States histories are the Israelites in grey who made heroic sacrifices and contributions for the Southern war effort. In addition to many Jewish soldiers in the field, Benjamin Mordecai of Charleston was one of the most generous contributors to the relief of military families; young Isabel Adeline Moses at fourteen became the youngest member of the Soldiers’ Aid Society in Columbus, Georgia, and spent long hours nursing the wounded.

Bernhard Thuersam, Chairman
North Carolina War Between the States Sesquicentennial Commission
"Unsurpassed Valor, Courage and Devotion to Liberty"
"The Official Website of the North Carolina WBTS Sesquicentennial"

Israelites in Grey

“After the war . . . the most ambitious [memorial] project . . . was that of the Hebrew Ladies Association of Richmond, organized in 1866 to care for the Jewish Confederate graves in Hollywood cemetery on Shockoe Hill. The work of turning the sod was performed by Jewish veterans. A Richmond reporter who went out to the cemetery one day said “it was a gratifying sight to behold the young men of this city, some of them frail of limb, with coats off, wheeling gravel and turf, as the last sad tribute they would pay to departed worth.”

Because the Richmond Jewish community, impoverished by the war, was unable to defray all the expenses of the plot, a general appeal for financial support was issued by the Association “To the Israelites of the South:”

“While the world yet rings with the narrative of a brave people’s struggle for independence, and while the story of the hardships so nobly endured for Liberty’s sake is yet a theme but half-exhausted, the countless graves of the myriad of heroes who spilled their noble blood in defense of that glorious cause, lie neglected, not alone unmarked by tablet or sculptured urn, but literally vanishing before the relentless finger of Time . . .

. . . [We make this appeal for aid well-knowing that as Israelites and true patriots, they will not refuse to assist in rearing a monument which shall serve not only to commemorate the bravery of our dead, but the gratitude and admiration of the living, for those who so nobly perished in what we deemed a just and righteous cause . . . [and] it will be a grateful reflection that they suffered not their country to call in vain.”

Rebekah Bettelheim, who came to Richmond in 1868, remarked how the entire Jewish population of Richmond would go out to the cemetery every Confederate Memorial Day, setting wreaths on the headstones, and standing before the monument with tears in their eyes.”

(American Jewry and the Civil War, Jewish Publication Society of America, 1951, pp. 110-111)

(Used With Permission)
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