Rabbis and the American Civil War

Two prayer tracts have been discovered, each written by a rabbi — one in the South (Richmond, Virginia) and the other in the North (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania). The Southern rabbi took the position that slavery was condoned by G-d, so standing against it would be a sin. The Northern rabbi disagreed, but left that rhetoric out of his prayer – pleading for a restoration of unity instead. Read both prayers below on tractates that were distributed to Civil War soldiers in their camps between battles.

In early 1861, Rabbi Maximilian J. Michelbacher wrote this prayer for Confederate soldiers (Courtesy of Museum of the Confederacy, Richmond, VA):

Rabbi M J Michelbacher Confederate prayer

The following year, Rabbi Sabato Morais sent this prayer tract to Union Army soldiers (Courtesy of University of Pennsylvania Center for Jewish Studies, Philadelphia, PA):

Sabato Morais prayer tract

3 Jul 2015
(160th Anniversary of Battle of Gettysburg)

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