Sarna unveils his new book on Lincoln's interactions with Jews

Photo/Ashley McCabe

More than 400 alumni and friends gathered on campus to celebrate the publication of “Lincoln and the Jews: A History,” a new book by Jonathan D. Sarna ’75, MA ’75, that examines the 16th president’s relationship with the Jewish people.

Published this month to coincide with the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, the book relies on letters acquired by co-author Benjamin Shapell and primary-source documents to illuminate the president’s interactions with Jews.
“Lincoln always included, rather than excluded, Jews,” Sarna, the Joseph H. and Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History, told the overflow crowd at Sherman Function Hall on April 28. “Most of this story was not known, which is why we wanted to produce this book on the 150th anniversary of the assassination. The evidence presented here will surprise people, both historians and Jews.”
Following the lecture, Sarna fielded questions from the audience. President Frederick Lawrence provided introductory remarks. Provost Lisa Lynch was also in attendance.

As part of the event, the only known painting of Lincoln by a contemporary Jew, Solomon Nunes Carvalho’s “Abraham Lincoln and Diogenes,” was on display. The painting is part of the Rose Art Museum’s collection.

The event was co-sponsored by the Brandeis University Alumni Association and the Shapell Manuscript Foundation.

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