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Jewish Anti-Slavery Crusader Threatened During the Baltimore Race Riot of 1861

A Race riot broke out in Baltimore on April 19, 1861.  Days later on April 23, abolitionist Rabbi David Einhorn under the threat of being tarred and feathered by a pro-slavery mob, fled his congregation at  Baltimore’s Har Sinai. He made his way to Philadelphia when the mob demolished  his newspaper, Sinai.

Bass Public Affairs and Alveda King Ministries continue their live and virtual series, The Yahweh Project.  The Yahweh Project is committed to learning from the powerful historic collaboration between  African-American and Jewish-American communities.  The shared challenges and won victories during some of the darkest days in American history stand as proof that people from divergent backgrounds can unite to make the world better.

Examples of that collaboration can be seen during the Civil War when African Americans and Jews worked together to support the Union and advocate for abolition. One notable example is the partnership between Frederick Douglass, a prominent African American abolitionist, and

Rabbi David Einhorn, a German Jewish immigrant and outspoken opponent of slavery.

Rabbi Einhorn became the spiritual leader of Congregation Har Sinai in Baltimore, Maryland, where he used his pulpit to denounce slavery and support the Union cause. He developed a close friendship with Frederick Douglass, who often attended Einhorn's sermons and shared his commitment to freedom.

Their collaboration extended beyond the pulpit. Einhorn and Douglass worked together to raise funds for the Union Army and to provide support for newly freed African Americans. They also collaborated on political initiatives, advocating for policies that would advance the rights and equality of African Americans.

Their partnership symbolizes the united front that good people took to combat oppression during the Civil War era. African Americans and Jewish Americans united to fight for justice and freedom. While their collaboration was just one example among many, it highlights the shared values and common goals that brought people from different backgrounds together during this turbulent period in American history.

To learn more about The Yahweh Project and receive invitations to virtual and in-person events, visit


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