September 21, 1861: Yom Kippur

Many Jewish southerners fought for the Confederacy. By September, 1861, Judah Benjamin had become the Secretary of War of the Confederacy — a Louisianan, he had been the first Jewish U.S. Senator before. Jewish soldiers in the ranks observed Yom Kippur on this date in 1861.

DAILY CONSTITUTIONALIST [AUGUSTA, GA], September 21, 1861, p. 3, c. 1

The Day of Atonement in Camp.

We learn, from Pensacola , that the soldiers of the Hebrew faith, in the Confederate army at that point, some forty in number, celebrated, by permission of General Bragg, the Jewish festival of the Atonement. In the prayers which they offered up to the God of their fathers, they forgot not the Government for which they have taken up arms. 

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One Response to September 21, 1861: Yom Kippur

  1. Jim Hill says:

    Benjamin was the first Jewish Cabinet Member on the North American continent.

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