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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

150 years ago today, President Abe Lincon was shot, Good Friday

150 years ago today, on Friday evening April 14, 1865, our beloved 16th president was shot at Ford's Theatre. Abraham Lincoln never regained consciousness and died on the morning of April 15th.

It was the Shabbat of Passover, normally a time of great celebration for the Jewish community.

Most American Jews heard the awful news when they arrived at synagogue. Rabbis abandoned their planned sermo...ns and struggled to comfort their flocks without crying.

At Shearith Israel in New York (pictured), the oldest Jewish congregation in the United States, the traditional Mourner's Kaddish was recited for the fallen President.

This was highly unusual, because Kaddish is not normally said for non-Jews, and Shearith Israel was known for being an especially strict Orthodox community.

Jewish journalist Isaac Leeser explained: "It is, indeed, somewhat unusual to pray [Kaddish] for one not of our faith, but by no means in opposition to its spirit... The prayers offered up this day for the deceased President are in accordance with the spirit of the faith which we have inherited as children of Israel, who recognize in all men those created like them in the image of God, and all entitled to His mercy, grace and pardon..."

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