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Happy 4th of July everyone! With the big day less than one month away here are some facts about the significant role Jews played in this uniquely American holiday.
Many Jews came to the New World following their expulsion from Spain in 1492. Thanks to this immigration - among other things - by the time the War of Independence erupted some two hundred years later there were more than 2,000 Sephardic Jews living in America. They didn't tarry in the sidelines, but fought against the British beside their Christian counterparts and were key financial backers of the war effort. Two of the most famous Jews who played a role in the Revolution were Francis Salvador and Haym Solomon.
Francis Salvador was the first American Jew to die in the Revolution, fighting for his country on the South Carolina frontier. A representative to Congress who was one of the earliest champions for Independence, his involvement on the battlefront began when the British started encouraging Indians to attack frontier families as a diversionary tactic. The first attack took place on July 1, 1776 and Salvador sounded the alarm by racing his horse to Major Andrew Williamson's doorstep twenty-eight miles away. He then took part in the battles that followed, fighting bravely until he was shot and scalped by Indians at 29 years of age. Of his death, Colonel William Thomson wrote:
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