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Making Jews: race, gender and identity in Barbados in the age of emancipation.

From the 1810s through the 1830s, calls for Jewish emancipation swept the Americas. In addition to Maryland's so-called "Jew Bill" (1819-1826)--a move to allow Jews to hold public office by modifying the state constitution's requirement that public officials take a Christian oath--Canada, Jamaica, Suriname, Curasao and Barbados all experienced legislative attempts in the first three decades of the nineteenth century to change the status and rights of Jewish residents. Jewish reactions to the drive for emancipation varied. In Canada, the United States and Jamaica, Jews tended to respond positively to the proposed changes. Yet, in the Dutch Caribbean, Jews resented the fact that the Dutch government had tied emancipation to the elimination of Jews' previous privileges. In Barbados, the Jewish community's response to emancipation was mixed. Emancipation became a lightning rod for defining Jewish communal identity, and it threatened to rip the community apart. Class tensions ran beneath discussions of race and gender, and class was the greatest factor in encouraging the Jews of Barbados to argue against emancipation.

Our analysis differs from many previous discussions of Jewish emancipation in early America that have relied upon non-Jewish sources--most commonly, the minutes from various state legislatures or letters exchanged with colonial governments. In this article, we turn instead to the records of the Congregation Nidhe Israel of Barbados and look at how Jews presented their own path to emancipation, both internally and to outsiders. In doing so, we reveal the important role Jews played in defining who and what is a Jew, even in an era in which Jewish identity was increasingly racialized. By focusing on Jewish perceptions of the emancipation, we challenge the way scholars have previously understood the construction of Jews as a "race" during this era. Previous histories of the racialization of early American Jews by historians Matthew Jacobson, Leonard Rogoff and Aron Rodrigue have tended to

see antisemitism as something done to Jews. (1) In contrast, we argue that Jews played an important role in creating their own identities. To be sure, Jews did not construct these identities in a vacuum, nor were they immune to the attempts made by others to posit who and what is a Jew. As author Michele Elam puts it, "Autonomy is always limited." (2) Yet, Barbados' Jews were not helpless victims of the machinations of others. Rather, Barbadian Jewish identity was the dynamic product of social transactions among Jews and a wide range of people and institutions, some of whom were Jewish, some of whom were not. Poor Jews had more to lose from the blurring of boundaries between Jews and people of African descent; hence, they were more protective of white privilege.

Our Barbados example has wide implications for the study of the relationship between Jewishness and the rise of nations more generally. Since emancipation marks the point at which nations debated whether Jews--and other minorities--were deemed capable of becoming fully assimilated into the body politic, the nature of the bodies to be assimilated was often highly contested. In Barbados, Jewish emancipation was tied to the synagogue. Jews sought emancipation through the Jewish Vestry Bill of Barbados, which sought to provide them with access to civil rights previously held only by members of the island's vestries. Prior to the bill only Anglican churches had vestries (legislative assemblies of parishioners), but the Jewish Vestry Bill of Barbados changed this by relabeling the legislative meetings of the island's synagogue as vestries. This subtle change allowed Jews to participate in island politics more fully without having to convert first.

Jewish emancipation in Barbados reflected the larger changes throughout the Americas in the status of Jews, women, and people of African descent. When the bill appeared, the Jewish community of Barbados had recently undergone radical changes, and the debates surrounding emancipation reveal internal dissent about whether to redefine or retain the Jewish community's previous hierarchical structure. As a consequence whiteness, manhood, and class were key factors in the emancipation debate. Rather than making all Jews equal to white Christians, the vestry bill selectively elevated elite Jews. In other words, "equality" underscored and retrenched long-standing inequalities in the Jewish community. Barbados vestry debates highlight the ways in which early American Jews questioned the geographic, cultural, racial and legal boundaries of what is an American Jew.

Historical Context

Jewish emancipation did not happen in a vacuum, but rather reflected larger geopolitical changes in the Americas. In Europe, Jewish emancipation reflected the emergence of modern nation states and the attempts of Jews and non-Jews to expand the rights of Jewish people and to recognize them as citizens of those states, rather than as foreign residents. In the Americas, this process of incorporation was complicated by the fact that the states into which Jews were being admitted were often either themselves quite new (such as the United States), or were technically still colonies of other nations (such as Canada, Jamaica, Barbados, Suriname and Curasao). Given this reality, many early American Jews did not become citizens when they were emancipated, but instead became colonial subjects. Moreover, Jewish emancipation usually occurred contemporaneously with the emancipation of other disenfranchised minorities, such as Catholics in Canada and people of African descent in Jamaica and Barbados. Thus, the process of creating equal citizens and subjects often challenged long-standing patterns of social difference that already existed within communities. In Barbados, the debates about Jewish vestries coincided not only with changes within the Jewish community and changes in the legal status of Jews in England, but also with changes in the social and legal status of people of color and poor whites on the island. As Barbadian Jews debated the terms of their belonging, they often did so in relation to these disenfranchised "others." Thus, the vestry debate reflected anxieties about shifts in power within the community.

The vestry bill appeared at a time when the Jewish community of Barbados had recently undergone radical changes, and the debate reveals internal attempts to redefine the community. The wars that ravaged the American colonies during the mid-to-late eighteenth century disastrously impacted the Caribbean economy in general and Jewish merchants in particular. Like Jews in other American ports, most of Barbados's Jewish community depended upon trade for their livelihood. Even planters like Abraham Rodrigues Brandon, one of the island's wealthiest Jews and the owner of the Hopeland plantation, (3) needed partners in other ports to refine sugar byproducts. The disruption of trade routes spelled economic disaster. As economic historian Richard Sheridan has noted, thousands of slaves in the Caribbean "literally starved [during the Revolutionary war] as a result of the cessation of North American trade." The Sugar Act of 1764 further cramped trade and threatened to topple the careful networks of trade upon which the Jewish ports of the Americas rested. (4) After the war, Anglo-Jewish communities in the Caribbean floundered as many individuals returned to England or moved on to other ports. As the Barbados Mahamad (synagogue governance board) noted, those who remained were "very much reduced in numbers and wealth." (5) Thus, in the first decades of the 1800s, the makeup of the Barbados Jewish community changed. Whereas the community had previously been made up of numerous wealthy merchants, landowners and manufacturers, by 1791, most were "little more than retailers." (6) Moreover, the decrease in available Jewish marriage partners, as well as local sexual practices, increased the number of mixed-race descendants of Jews, some of whom had Jewish ancestry from both their fathers and their maternal grandfathers. (7) As people of mixed descent converted to Judaism, these descendants legitimately entered the community's halakhic (religiously legal) boundaries.

In addition to internal changes, external forces sought to change the legal status of Jews on the island and in England. The British government had earlier attempted to augment the status of Anglo-Jewry in 1753 with the Jewish Naturalization Bill (the "Jew Bill"). Although this bill did allow a number of prominent Jews in the American colonies to be naturalized, it proved highly controversial in England, and it was eventually repealed. Unlike the controversy surrounding the Jewish Vestry Bill of Barbados, the dispute regarding Anglo-Jewish naturalization was primarily between Christians. Those in favor of the English "Jew Bill" argued that it would lead to Jewish conversion and assimilation. Those opposed argued that Jews were subjects of the Devil, not Christ, and, as such, " [I]t was foolhardy and dangerous to try to incorporate them into the English nation." Opponents believed that as long as Jews practiced Judaism, they were separate, distinct and utterly alien. (8) As we will see, the question of whether Jews could and should be assimilated into the English nation would also be a central concern raised by Jews in Barbados. By the 1820s, Anglo-Jews did push for their own emancipation, even though Jews enjoyed enough rights that they had "little to complain of," other than not being admitted to Parliament. (9) That said, full emancipation wasn't achieved in England until 1858, when Lionel de Rothschild took his seat in the House of Commons. (10) In contrast to England, Barbados remained a plantocracy whose government was controlled by the planter elite and organized around the parishes and vestries of the Anglican Church. As outsiders to Anglican parishes, Jews had few avenues for impacting island politics, and they were unable to vote. (11)

Racial changes also impacted Jewish emancipation in Barbados. As on other islands, the emancipation of people of African descent collided with Jewish social status in Barbados. (12) Between 1816 and 1834, the larger social structure on Barbados underwent major changes and eroded the last vestiges of special privileges for poor whites. Poor whites had always had fewer privileges on Barbados than on other Caribbean islands and, until the twentieth century, an elite group of landholders who voted and held assembly seats controlled the island. (13) Yet, in the decades leading up to emancipation, legislation slowly eliminated what few privileges poor whites had retained. For example, following the slave revolt of 1816, free people of color earned the right to testify against whites and, in 1831, free colored men who fulfilled the property requirements could vote. (14) If social status is viewed as a zero-sum game, poor whites stood to lose the most in relation to the privileges gained by people of color. Indeed, free men of color with extensive financial resources soon had the potential to gain greater privileges than poor whites. As we will see, wealthy Jews of color became a focal point for tensions during the vestry disputes.

The vestry debates invoked many of the anxieties rife during these decades about both Jewish identity and the identity of poor whites. Like many island political disputes, the vestry debates pitched a wealthy (landed) elite against poor, disempowered whites. Making the synagogue a vestry would enable the leadership of Nidhe Israel to enforce tax collection and circumvent the problem of needing to be part of an Anglican vestry in order to vote or to be elected in island politics. Aging Jewish elites whose families had controlled the synagogue for several generations favored the bill. Elites already paid their taxes; hence, they and those who benefited from their paternalism had the most to gain from forcing other congregants to pay theirs as well. Moreover, by defining synagogue legislative meetings as vestries, these same landed elites would have the ability to choose who sat in the House of Assembly and to take part in the assembly themselves. In contrast, those who rejected the bill had the least to gain from it, whether financially, socially or politically. As outsiders to the families who controlled the synagogue, they would never be elected to the Mahamad. Moreover, they lacked the land and finances to gain entrance into the House of Assembly. Thus, antagonists to the bill correctly recognized that they would never control internal politics--regardless of how much money they obtained--and, hence, they preferred to be autonomous rather than connected to the Jewish community.

The conflict between these two groups came to the attention of non-Jews when, on Friday, October 8, 1819, twenty-six men belonging to Congregation Nidhe Israel signed a petition to the Barbados House of Assembly requesting a legislative enactment that would allow the "Hebrew Nation Resident on this Island" to force members of the Jewish community to pay the taxes assessed on them by the Mahamad. These taxes, previously given at the discretion of congregants, were used to maintain the increasingly large number of "poor and indigent of their Nation." In order to empower the Mahamad to collect taxes forcibly, the bill would make the Mahamad a "vestry" (a parish parliament) like that used by the Anglican Church on the island. (15)

Becoming a vestry, however, also would bring Jews larger political privileges. Vestries were "the main organ of local government" in England and her colonies. Barbados was divided into eleven parishes of the Anglican Church, each of which elected a vestry to oversee local governance. Technically, a parish refers not only to a geographical area, but also to the congregants and church property within that area. (Figure 1) Each of Barbados' eleven Anglican parishes chose two representatives for the House of Assembly. To become part of the vestry, men had to be 21 years old, white, Christian, native-born or naturalized, and the owner of at least ten acres of land or a house annually taxed at 10 [pounds sterling] or more. To vote for the assemblymen, men not only had to be part of a vestry but also had to have paid an even higher level of vestry taxes. In other words, unless they converted, Jews could not participate in these levels of government. (16) Thus, in addition to making taxes mandatory, the vestry bill, de facto, took an important step toward "emancipating" Barbadian Jews by providing Jews with a loophole by which they could qualify as having paid taxes to a vestry without becoming Anglicans. It wasn't specified whether the bill would allow the newly formed Jewish vestry to send two of its own representatives to the House of Assembly; yet, either way, the bill paved the way for giving Jews political powers they had not formerly possessed. Yet, by October 20, a group of Jews viciously attacked the Jewish Vestry Bill of Barbados in the Barbados Free Press, labeling the bill as "the madness of many for the gain of a few." (17) Opponents of the bill were almost unilaterally those who were poor or those who suffered from the stigma of having once been poor. Since property requirements were still necessary for voting, opponents had quickly realized that the bill would help to emancipate only Barbados' wealthiest Jews and to increase the privilege of select elites.

Indeed, the supporters of the bill numbered among the remnants of the old landed elite: Abraham Rodrigues Brandon, Phineas Nunes, A.D.P. Elkin and Abraham Lindo. Those who paid the highest amount in taxes had signed the bill along with other members of the old guard, as had a number of people who do not appear on the assessment list and, one might assume, were the beneficiaries of the taxes. The leaders of the proposal were what the opposition called the "hereditary junto" --men whose families had held a monopoly on the Mahamad for several generations. (18) Through the bill, these "hereditary" leaders of Jewish politics would also potentially gain a voice in non-Jewish government if they could pass the property requirements for franchise.

In contrast, the opposition was made up of a motley bunch of outsiders. The ten members of the community who allegedly opposed the bill (19) fell into three categories: (1) those who had signed under duress or unintentionally; (2) those who lacked financial motivations, but who strongly disliked the congregation's elite; and (3) those who were politically disenfranchised and who would also be financially damaged by the bill. First, at least five of those who signed the bill appear to have been coerced in some manner. Three elderly women who signed claimed that "they were not acquainted with the nature of the Counter-petition and that they regretted having ever signed it." (20) Two others were young men who were deemed to have signed under duress from their fathers (David Pinheiro and Aaron Aarons). The second group of signatories (Moses Pinheiro, Benjamin Massiah, and Henry Aarons) lacked financial incentive but had plenty of emotional motivations. The Mahamad had censured all three repeatedly for misbehavior, and Moses Pinheiro was so strongly disliked that the Mahamad denied him congregational membership altogether. The Mahamad members saw all three men as "outside the pale" of Judaism, and they used their power to treat them as such. (21)

In contrast, the third group of antagonists, Isaac Lealtad and Joshua Levy, stood to lose both financially and politically from the vestry; not surprisingly, then, the two men led the opposition to the vestry bill. Synagogue tax assessments ranged from 30 [pounds sterling] down to 2.10 [pounds sterling], and the assessments of both Lealtad and Levy lay in the high-to-middle range: 15 [pounds sterling], or about half a year's rent. Moreover, their assessments did not reflect their actual status in the community as part of the once-impoverished underclass. Although no longer poor, both Lealtad and Levy retained the taint of poverty and the ongoing stigma of having poor dependents. As the Mahamad was quick to note, Lealtad and his extended family had been "[bjrought up and supported from the charitable funds of the Hebrew Nation." Yet the funds had made Lealtad resentful, not grateful. He complained bitterly about the congregation's powerful elite--the "hereditary junto"--to which he could not belong, regardless of his current finances. Levy similarly found himself at the community's social and political margins, having "arrived here with his Wife a few years back in a state of deplorable indigence and who was snatched from starvation by the private charity of the community." As with Lealtad, Levy's former dependency engendered in him anger, not gratitude, once he understood that select families held community leadership and it was hence forever beyond his reach. (22) All in all, the opposition's leaders gained more by discrediting the powerful and claiming independence than they did by paying their taxes and working within the congregation's social structure.

While the vestry debates were alleged to be about who was entitled to make decisions for the community, the debate quickly focused on two secondary issues: race and gender. Yet, class tensions ran through both of those concerns. If the old-guard elites cared less about color lines, it was because they had the privilege to do so. Likewise, if elites cared about maintaining gender boundaries, it was because the emancipation of women would threaten a power structure that benefited them. Class privilege infused discussions of race and gender during the conflict.

Race and Early American Jewish Identity

The first specter raised by the vestry debates was race and its role in defining who and what is a Jew. As a heated dispute broke out among members of the "Hebrew Nation" of Barbados in 1819 and 1820 about whether to become a vestry and thereby expand the Jewish right to vote and make synagogue taxes mandatory, one signatory found himself at the unhappy center of the conflict: Isaac Lopez Brandon (c.1792-1855), a wealthy Jew of mixed descent. (Figure 2) Although then residing in Philadelphia, Brandon was the natural son of a woman of color and Abraham Rodrigues Brandon, one of the island's wealthiest Jews. As the petitioners felt "it proper to explain," Isaac Lopez Brandon was a "Jew from inclination." Since his mother was not a Jew when he was born, when Brandon "was of age ... he went to Surinam in order to be admitted within the pale of Judaism." Many in the island's Jewish community approved of him: "His conduct is most exemplary," they insisted, and he paid more in taxes to the synagogue than "any person out of the Vestry except two," even when he was absent from the island. Jews opposed to the vestry, however, deeply resented Brandon being counted as a Jew, and they invented a conspiracy theory suggesting that proponents wanted the bill only so as to "have the power of taxing the Hebrew nation that we might send money to America to build a Synagogue for Mr. Brandon's color'd connexions." Eventually, those in favor of the vestry prevailed, but only after Brandon was "debarred from the rights he heretofore possessed." The Mabamad soon removed his name from the list of Yebadim (full members) altogether. (23)

The dispute regarding Isaac Lopez Brandon exemplifies the way members of the Barbados Jewish community were important participants in shaping their racial identity. Through the debates, Jews raised three basic questions about Jewish identity with regard to race: (1) Were Jews a foreign group who posed a threat to the nation? (2) Should people of African descent count as Jews? (3) If Jews were to get privileges as members of the vestry, would this be for all Jews or merely for "white" Jews?

First, during the vestry debates, some Jews suggested that Jews were inherently alien and hence a national threat. Indeed, Jewish opponents of emancipation deliberately invoked antisemitic stereotypes of Jewish "foreignness." Rather than arguing for Jewish equality, Jewish opponents characterized the vestry bill as a "chimerical scheme" by "a few aspiring individuals" seeking to undermine the government. Using William Blackstone's summary of English law, antagonists reminded the assembly that by requiring government officials to take the Anglican sacrament, England had erected a bulwark against a wide array of hostile outsiders, including "Infidels, Turks, Jews, Heretics, Papists and Sectaries." Rather than seeing Judaism merely as a separate religion, Jewish opponents presented all Jews as akin to a "foreign state or potentate" that should not be allowed to have "any jurisdiction, power, superiority, preeminence, or authority ecclesiastical or Spiritual within this realm." (24) In essence, opponents of the bill were playing upon antisemitic concerns that Jews in general should not be allowed to participate in local governance.

In presenting Jews in general as corrupting bogeymen, opponents to the vestry bill were playing upon preexisting fears of Jews as outsiders --fears that had only increased during the era of emancipation. Aron Rodrigue and others have argued that as Jews entered nation states, gentiles began to reframe Jewish identity as a racial category rather than a religious choice. (25) Thus, art made about (rather than for) colonial Jews increasingly depicted Jews in racial terms during the first half of the nineteenth century. For example, painter Pierre Jacques Benoit, who visited the colonies from the 1820s to the 1830s, depicted Jews not only as morally "loose," but also as visually analogous to monkeys and people of African descent. (Figure 3) In Benoit's "Jewish Shopkeeper and Tailor, Paramaribo, Suriname" (ca. 1831), Jewish shopkeeper Isak Abraham Levy holds a necklace with the same gesture used by Afro-Surinamese tailor Petro Coffy Abouka and the monkey at the top right of the painting, thereby suggesting a visual--and racial--analogy among the three.

Yet, arguments made by opponents to the Jewish Vestry Bill of Barbados suggest that if the "race" of Jews was the product of social processes, then individual Jews--and their communities--had helped to frame the terms of those interactions. Literature scholar Paula M.L. Moya and psychologist Hazel Rose Markus argue that we should think of race as something one "does" rather than something one "is." (26) The vestry debates were one method by which Jews negotiated their status with non-Jews and among themselves.

In addition, Barbadian Jews created their racial identity vis-a-vis people of African descent. Jews exposed their participation in "race making" when Jewish opponents to the vestry bill questioned whether people of African descent should "count" fully as Jews. In the supplement of their complaint regarding the bill to Lord Combermere, the antagonists argue 26

that one of the signatories was "a colord [sic] man ... I.L. Brandon," who, like "Apprentices," should not count as full members of the community. The antagonists' desire to link Brandon with disparaged "apprentices" needs some explanation. In Barbados, apprenticeships were a form of indentured servitude in which "children of poor families, orphans, and the 'bastard' children of the elite were bound out as apprentices, until aged 21, when they were recognized as free adults." Like other poor whites, apprentices were "regarded as outcasts from 'respectable' white society," and they comprised an "ambiguous, group, not clearly definable as colonizer or colonized, and, at the same, not quite white." (27) Yet, as the bill's proponents hasten to explain, Brandon was halakhically Jewish, having traveled to Suriname in order to undergo conversion and "be admitted within the pale of Judaism." Thus, "in a religious point of view" they explain, "we make no distinction between Mr. Brandon's son (who is a man of colour) and any other member of our community." (Emphasis in the original) Although the underscoring of "in a religious point of view" suggests in other ways that the petitioners did make a distinction between Brandon and other members of the congregation, the petitioners clarified the fact that Brandon benefited the community both financially and through his conduct. (28) Indeed, economic status and behavior elevated Brandon above poor "white" Jews, including those who opposed the bill. While Brandon's behavior and finances placed him "within the pale of Judaism," the behavior of poor "white" Jews like Henry Aarons could make congregants so far "without the pale of Judaism" that the Mahamad felt such outcasts possessed "no more right to sign a [Jewish] Petition ... than a Mahometan" does. (29) Thus, while Brandon may never have been considered "white" on the island, he did have similar "privileges, opportunities, and possibilities for social mobility" as those available to once-impoverished whites. (30)

Indeed, Brandon had one privilege that formerly poor "white" Jews like Isaac Lealtad and Joshua Levy lacked: a genealogical claim through his father to the "hereditary junto" and the likelihood of inheriting land that would allow him to enter into the island's plantocracy. Unlike Lealtad and Levy, Brandon could expect to be elected to the Mahamad, and, as such, could potentially have the right, upon the establishment of the vestry, to vote for assemblymen or to be elected to the House of

Assembly himself. Not surprisingly, then, Brandon raised a third question about Jewish identity: If Jews were to get privileges as members of a vestry, would this privilege pertain to all Jews or merely to "white" Jews? That is, would "Jewishness" trump other racial categories? The question wasn't isolated to Isaac Lopez Brandon, since, as author Karl Watson has noted, Brandon was one of several mixed-race descendants of Barbadian Jews who either had money of their own or who had inherited it from Jewish relatives. (31) Although only Isaac Lopez Brandon and his sister, Sarah, are known to have converted to Judaism, he presumably set a precedent that those with the means to do so could always travel to Suriname in the future in order to convert.

In their response to the question of whether Jewishness would trump racial categories, here, too, the bill's opponents played upon the racial fears of the assemblymen by suggesting that if the bill were to pass, "the spirits of darkness might envelop them." (32) Unlike the specter of Jewish corruption, this fear hit home. Thus, we find that, one of the assemblymen,

   Mr. Hinds ... moved, seconded by Mr. Moe, that an additional Clause
   be added to said Bill to prevent Persons descended from Negroes
   participating in the Privileges of said Bill which having been
   agreed to unanimously, a Clause to that effect was prepared and
   added thereto. (33)

Interestingly, rather than forgoing vestry, proponents of the bill accepted this amendment and voted that "Mr. Isaac Lopez Brandon's name be taken off the list of Yehadim as he considered it unjust to tax him when by the Vestry Bill now in force he was debarred from the rights he heretofore possessed with all the assessed Members." (34) It is unclear whether the "he" who found the situation unjust was Brandon himself or Benjamin Elkin, the congregation's warden. Either way, rather than challenge the equation of "whiteness" with Jewish privilege, the Mahamad voted to strip Brandon of his full membership in the congregation. Meanwhile, Brandon was already living in the United States as a member of congregations Mikveh Israel in Philadelphia and Shearith Israel in New York.

Ironically, by coming to the United States, Isaac Lopez Brandon left behind the stigma of his past and his racial status, even though, in general, the United States had a less flexible racial system than parts of the Caribbean. Once in the United States, Brandon was able to "pass" into white Jewish society. Moreover, his wealth seems to have gained him entrance into the congregational elite of Jewish society in the United States. In New York, Brandon married Lavinia Moses (1786-1828), the daughter of wealthy German Jews Isaac Moses (1741/2-1818) and Reyna Levy (1753-1824). A highly successful merchant and ship owner, Isaac Moses had extensive real estate holdings in New York City, and he was very active in the synagogue. Although not part of the original Sephardic "hereditary junto" of Shearith Israel, Isaac Lopez Brandon's in-laws played a crucial role in the congregation after the American Revolutionary War: Reyna Levy's great-uncle had been the congregation's president, and both Isaac Moses and his brother-in-law Benjamin Mendes Seixas were the "heart and soul of New York's Jewish community after the Revolution." (35) Isaac Brandon's mixed-race sister, Sarah, had married Lavinia Moses' brother, Joshua Moses, in London in 1817. She and her offspring later passed into the "white" New York Jewish community. (36) The siblings' ability to pass in New York may have been aided by the fact that their conversion would not always have been apparent. Since their stepmother's name was Sarah and their father's name was Abraham, the children's Hebrew names would have appeared to have been the same regardless of whether they were born Jewish or had converted. Thus, while denied the privileges of Jews in Barbados, Isaac Lopez Brandon and his sister showed that, at times, money could trump race for wealthy, mixed-race descendants of Jews.

The vestry debates were one of several avenues open to Jews during the era who sought to take part in establishing the definition of their own racial identities. Rather than give privilege to a few, opponents to the bill played upon preexisting fears of Jews as a threatening alien race. Yet, at the same time, opponents' arguments revealed their own fears that Jewish emancipation might jeopardize the privileges of poor whites by elevating mixed-race Jews. The specter of race in the Barbados vestry debates signals the important intersection among race, class and religion during this era. Notably, the most marginalized members of Nidhe Israel Synagogue were those most concerned with the way Isaac Lopez Brandon blurred the boundaries of Jewishness and whiteness, most likely because they had the most to lose in such a blurring, since they lacked the material resources to augment their own racial status.

Gendering Jews

The second specter raised by the vestry debates concerned appropriate gender roles for Jewish women and men. In some sense, the gender question was one we have already seen: If Jews were to be emancipated, which Jews? Yet, even as opponents to the vestry bill distrusted racial enfranchisement, they favored female emancipation. While such a position appears inconsistent at first glance, it is in keeping with the opponents' attempts to decrease (rather than increase) the existing power of the "hereditary junto." Opponents to the vestry bill challenged the notion that women's role was primarily private, and consequently provoked anxieties by elites about recent attacks by English women on male patriarchal privilege.

Rather than responding to the attacks on their privilege directly, the junto framed discussions of gender roles in terms of virtue. For the "hereditary junto," making Jewish women full citizens would "degrade" Jews "in the eyes of Christians." (37) Likewise, the vestry disputes raised concerns about stereotypes of Jewish men as lawless and violent. To counteract those perceptions, both petitioners and antagonists attempted to present themselves as "civil" and genteel, and to reject violent behavior as "un-Jewish." By emphasizing the idea that "good Jews" conformed to gender norms, proponents of the bill created a vision of the Jewish community as orderly and aristocratic--that is, capable of becoming part of the plantocracy. In both instances, however, Barbadian Jews revealed themselves to be highly aware of gender roles as something that they performed under the gaze of non-Jews: Each side expressed concern that the "strange and unparalleled conduct" of other Jews would serve to "degrade their [Jewish] Brethren in the eyes of Christians." Much of the debate was spent critiquing each other's gendered performances and questioning the extent to which the performances reflected poorly upon Jews as a whole. By performing gender roles correctly, Jews tried to demonstrate that they were worthy of inclusion into the British nation or even worth listening to during legislative debates.

The first area of gender performance commented upon in the debates involved Jewish women. By signing their names in opposition to the Jewish Vestry Bill of Barbados, Jewish women sparked controversy over women's participation in politics and the status of women within the Jewish community. Three women signed the petition: Rachel Pinheiro, Lunah Pinheiro, and Esther Nunes. Esther Nunes, however, provoked the greatest concerns, possibly because she was younger and poorer than the other two and, hence, may have been perceived as having looser ties to the status quo. On some level, though, all three women were relatively independent. All of them were mature women who had never married; hence, they were considered femmes soles (single, unmarried women) who could "participate in the property market with few restrictions," including buying and selling land, houses and slaves. Moreover, as property owners, femmes soles had some potential to "exert control and influence over those institutions that affect ideologies." (38) Compared to married women or even widows, spinsters (particularly those whose fathers were dead) were relatively independent of Jewish patriarchy. If one compares the wills of older spinsters and widows in the Barbados Jewish community, for example, spinsters were more likely to make other women (rather than male relatives) the executors of their estates. They were also more likely to leave significant portions of their estates to female friends and relatives--often, other unmarried women. (39) Unlike widows, femme soles "freely decided the beneficiaries of their property" and, in the Jewish community of Barbados, they tended to pass along their power to other women. (40)

Yet, of the three unmarried women, Esther Nunes also stood out to the petitioners as the most dangerous. She was the most loosely tied to the community and more capable of action. Whereas Rachel Pinheiro was more than 80 years old when she signed the petition and Lunah Pinheiro was nearly 70, Esther Nunes was only 51 years of age--significantly younger. (41) Moreover, Esther Nunes contributed less to the community's coffers: She was assessed in the lowest category of assessed members (she paid 2.10 [pounds sterling] in taxes), whereas both Lunah Pinheiro and Rachel Pinheiro were assessed as needing to contribute 5 [pounds sterling]. (42) Supporters of the Jewish Vestry Bill of Barbados discounted Rachel Pinheiro because of her age, and they did not even discuss Lunah Pinheiro. However, they were particularly concerned with Esther Nunes because she possibly represented lower-class women who were newly politically active.

Esther Nunes caused supporters of the legislation concern because she invoked fears about female reform and challenged the vision of Barbadian Jews as respectful of colonial hierarchies. The petitioners addressed Esther Nunes' signature by noting that it "has never been customary" for a woman to sign a petition. They then expressed a sort of paranoia that Esther Nunes "wished to stimulate her sex to follow the example of the Female Reformers who [had] lately sprung up in England." (43) The term "female reformers" may have referred generically to early British feminists such as Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797) and Catharine Macaulay (1731-1791), who argued that women were not inherently inferior to men and, hence, deserved equal rights. However, given the period in which the vestry debates began, the "Female Reformers ... lately sprung up in England" most likely referred to members of the Manchester Female Reform Society, which was established in 1819. Like the female signatories of the Jewish Vestry Bill of Barbados, the Manchester women pushed for political reform in England while not seeking to be explicitly given political rights of their own. Yet, members of the Manchester Female Reform Society suggested a threat to traditional gender and class roles. The movement arose when women were transitioning from employment in the home--a designated female space--to employment in factories and workshops--a predominately male space. Even more unsettling, the female reformers espoused radical views of a republican, secular English state that embraced ideas of free love. (44) By the 1790s, Barbados had developed a strong trading partnership with Manchester; hence, the Barbados community may have heard of or may even have come into contact with the Manchester Female Reform Society. (45) Younger and lower class as she was, Esther Nunes evoked fears of a radically altered English society in which women would infringe on the male-dominated political sphere and violate traditional notions of female decorum.

While the female signatories may have invoked fears about the Jewish Reform movement, this was probably not the primary issue as neither side seems dedicated to a traditional reading of Jewish law. On the one hand, proponents of the vestry bill questioned, "What would that ancient sage [King Solomon] think of three females signing counter-petitions"? (46) On the other hand, though, proponents of the Jewish bill did not argue that including women would violate Jewish law. They did not cite the sages of the Talmud, for example. Rather, their concern was to show that good Jewish behavior supports rather than undermines the Anglican Church. "Jews," they explained, "though they are non-conformist, are never ranked in the list of Separatists." (47) Moreover, proponents and opponents of the legislation did not fit neatly into camps of Orthodox or Reform Judaism. Whereas the Reform movement was primarily Ashkenazic, the opponents of the bill were all Sephardic, including the female signatories. Likewise, all but one of those in favor of the vestry bill were Sephardic. Equally important, the debate often focused on appropriate decorum, but rarely systematically invoked halakha (Jewish law). Opponents of the bill claimed to care about "Mosaic law," but they rejected it when it no longer helped their case. Likewise, even the leading proponents of the vestry bill often stepped outside of Jewish law when it was in their best interests. For example, shortly after the debates, Abraham Rodrigues Brandon married his second wife, Sarah Simpson Wood, whose family wasn't Jewish, but was part of the island's plantocracy. (48) After the House of Assembly passed the vestry bill, the female counter-petitioners withdrew their support by claiming that they had been ignorant of the counter-petition's "tenor." (49) By claiming ignorance, they signified a return to traditional values--not because they desired to leave the public sphere, but because they had preserved the gendered division between public and private spaces.

Just as the vestry debates sparked questions about the proper role of women, so, too, they led to questions about appropriate male 'behavior. Although groups agreed that civility was essential to manhood, proponents of the bill saw decorum as supporting the status quo, whereas opponents of the bill paired liberty with decorum. Author Erin Mackie argues that during the late eighteenth century and early nineteenth century, civility was central to British masculinity. (50) Sexual restraint and lawfulness signaled one's manhood and supported a "class-based sociocultural dominance." Thus, the sexually violent depiction of Jewish men during the English "Jew Bill" debates (1753-1754) emphasized Jews' lawlessness and danger, even as it undercut their ability to be "true men." (51) Throughout the debates, we find speakers using decorum to style themselves as authoritative, even as they critique the behaviors of other members of the community.

Both proponents and opponents of the vestry bill used language and rhetoric to style themselves as educated, "cultured" men. One way the speakers emphasized their gentility was through the use of polysyllabic words and "purple prose"--that is, prose that was "over-written, excessively rich, hyper-adjectival, melodramatic, [and] over-rhetorical." (52) For example, in their complaints in the Barbados Free Press about antagonists to the vestry bill, proponents of the bill write:

   But would not King Solomon be much less astonished at the Jewish
   Vestry Bill than at the strange and unparalleled conduct of a
   Triumvirate of Jews .... What of four male and three female
   Israelites undertaking to guard the "Protestant Ascendancy!" What
   of their frequently calling on the three branches of the
   Legislature to protect the Established Church from the crafty
   machinations of their sly brethren!! The famed sage of Israel would
   marvel a little too, I should think Sir at the frolic of calling
   the Jews Sectaries!

Here we see some of the hallmarks of the prose style used in the debate: excessive use of exclamation points that make the pleas melodramatic and over-rhetorical; the use of polysyllabic words ("a Triumvirate of Jews") when monosyllabic ones would suffice; and hyper-adjectival descriptions ("crafty machinations of their sly brethren"). Elsewhere, speakers staked their claims to civility by making literary allusions to William Shakespeare, Alexander Pope and other "high style" authors. (53) While today such attempts may appear overwrought or pompous, the elevated prose marked the speakers' attempts to gain authority and position themselves as decorous gentlemen.

Even when the minutes reflected internal discussions, the Mahamad remained highly aware that their actions as a political body affected non-Jews' perception of the Jewish community and the community's adherence to manly behavior. Benjamin Elkin, the president of the Yehadim, for example, expressed concern that the Yehadim's behavior would denigrate their position within the colonial hierarchy:

   What Gentlemen! are we to act like Children? are we to be mocked
   at? scorned at?--laughed at?--held up to derision?--are our
   opponents to triumph over ms?--are Christians to point at us with
   the finger of contempt and say "There goes a pusillanimous Jew!!"

Here again, we see Elkin using exclamation points and question marks to make the speech more dramatic. This "genteel" speech contrasted sharply with the opposition's gendered performances, which had the ability to infantilize them in the eyes of others. By equating the Yebadim with children, Elkin emphasized that bad behavior disempowered the congregants. Elkin suggested instead that the community ensure its manhood by creating and maintaining barriers against illicit activity. (55) Elkin's depiction of a such a "manly" Mabamad contrasted sharply with earlier images from pamphlets opposing the "Jew Bill" that presented Jews as sexual predators who would penetrate any barrier of civility.

The desire to present the community as adult and manly also contrasted with the petitioner's presentation of Jews who objected to the bill as former dependents who were lawless, unmanly and unable to support their families without synagogue pensions. For example, the petitioners criticized Isaac Lealtad and Joshua Levy for refusing to support the vestry bill after they and the women within their families had been supported by synagogue pensions. (56) As historian Cecily Jones has argued, in Barbados, being on poor relief was itself potentially feminizing, since "women represented the principle claimants of poor relief." (57) Poor whites were dismissed and disparaged by elites as "feckless, work-shy and spendthrift"--qualities that the Mabamad had noted in several of the antagonists to the vestry bill. (58) Such qualities made poor whites "not quite white" and marked poor men as pitiful, and they contrasted sharply with the Mabamad's appropriately paternal desire to take care of and provide for women and children. (59) By re-emphasizing Lealtad and Levy's identity as "poor whites," the Mabamad made the men's whiteness and manhood appear suspect.

Both female and male roles and gendered divisions between public and private spaces came under question during the vestry debates. In order to maintain a place in British culture, the petitioners employed rhetoric that legitimated the masculinity of the Mahamad, placing the Barbados Jewish community within the traditional patriarchy of the English Commonwealth. The pervading question of who should legally be included in the community incited the members of the current elite--mostly petitioners--to maintain traditional gendered divisions. The female counter-petitioners were prime targets for criticism because they lacked financial resources and familial presence in the community. The case of the female counter-petitioners displayed the role social and economic power played in emancipation. As with race, class tensions underlay concerns about manliness and women's behavior during the debates.

If the vestry debates were an arena in which Jews could construct their racial identities, so, too, they became a place in which the performance of Jewish gender roles were critiqued and judged. As in other instances, those who favored Jewish vestry did not do so with an eye toward creating equality for all Jews. Rather, proponents of the bill favored gender roles that emphasized the privileges of patriarchy and class and reinforced their dominance within the community. In contrast, antagonists to the bill more often resorted to a language about inherent "rights" and "liberty," and their willingness to include female signatories fits within this paradigm. By siding with patriarchy and the establishment, proponents of the bill challenged the usual expectation that people sought emancipation because of their wider belief in equality and their wider desire for social change.


In Barbados, Jews participated in constructing a new sense of Jewish identity vis-a-vis gender and race. Vestry debates revealed the importance of micro-history for understanding Jewish emancipation in the Americas. Indeed, the Barbados vestry debates suggested that the impact emancipation had on Jewish identity depended on the cultural and political context of emancipation itself. The relationship between a Jewish community and its presiding governmental power influenced how Barbadian Jews approached changes in their civil status. In order to appeal to the British Commonwealth, the proponents of emancipation in Barbados reified the colonial relationship between Barbados and the British Commonwealth and used rhetoric to integrate the community into British social hierarchies. Moreover, emancipation did not uniformly affect Jewish identity; rather, the terms of emancipation reflected preexisting socioeconomic relationships. Those in the higher class had more political privileges in Barbados because political rights were based on property ownership and the taxes paid to a vestry. Thus, class was the underlying feature of each point of contention during the Barbados vestry debates. This contrasts with Jewish emancipation in England, since, in England, much of the Anglo-Jewish elite had socially integrated with the Christian population before emancipation began. Consequently, the Anglo-Jewish elite did not stand to gain nearly as much from emancipation as the Jewish lower class: The Anglo-Jewish elite had already gained access to many social and economic circles. Emancipation did, however, allow lower-class British Jews to obtain the full rights of citizenship, and hence gave the lower-class more economic opportunities. Moreover, the Anglo-Jewish community was more unified. The Anglo-Jewish elite helped to increase secular education in the Jewish community in order to integrate lower-class Jews more fully into the community. (60) The opposite was true for the Jewish Vestry Bill of Barbados, because it maintained the Jewish community's own hierarchal organization. In Barbados, upper-class Jews stood to gain more from the vestry bill than lower-class Jews, because only the upper classes could access the new political privileges given to the community.

The proponents of Jewish emancipation in Barbados tried to maintain their control by subjugating the community to British colonial rule and allowing racial hierarchies to be overcome by wealth. The petitioners' perspectives on race and gender reflected their desire to maintain their position within the local power structure. If elites of the community were willing to ignore race, perhaps it was because doing so benefited them. They collected taxes from Isaac Lopez Brandon and benefited from his relationship with his father, Abraham Rodrigues Brandon, whose political power on the island was increasing. Thus, the Barbados vestry debates highlight the need to interrogate the claims made by Jews for and against emancipation. Historicizing Jewish emancipation requires historians not only to record the claims that are made but also to question why certain claims are made. The vestry debates provide a clear example of the well-known fact that Jewish communities were not cohesive, monolithic communities. Proponents and opponents of the Jewish Vestry Bill of Barbados asserted a multitude of reasons for taking one side or the other--some as absurd as the need to protect the Anglican Church--while other opponents ended up stating that they did not even understand the petition they had signed. The effects of local relations and power structures complicate the effort to generalize the effect of emancipation on a collective Jewish identity.

For the Jews of the Atlantic world, the period of the 1810s through the 1830s was an era of emancipation; the micro-history of the Jewish Vestry Bill of Barbados of 1820 can help us to understand more fully the larger context in which Atlantic world Jews sought equality and redefined what it means to be Jewish. Jews in Europe and the Americas sought political change. Between 1830 and 1856, Jews presented fourteen bills to the British legislature asking that it act to remove barriers to Jews serving in the English Parliament. (61) Likewise, heated debates swept across Maryland between 1818 and 1826 as citizens argued about removing the requirement of a Christian oath for public office and thereby allowing Jews to serve in the legislature. In Canada, the specter of Catholic emancipation in the overwhelming Catholic provinces complicated Jews' path toward civil equality in the 1820s and 1830s. (62) In the Dutch colonies, civil equality was presented as both a promise and a threat. The government granted Jews civil rights in 1825, but simultaneously withdrew privileges they had previously enjoyed. Thus, in Suriname and Curasao, Jews resented the terms of emancipation and negotiated those terms with the government in order to redefine what it meant to be equal citizens. In these slave colonies, as in Barbados and Jamaica, Jewish emancipation was heavily impacted by privileges granted to free blacks and "colored" people. Indeed, in Jamaica, Jewish emancipation preceded the emancipation of slaves by only two years. The correlation of Jewish emancipation and slave emancipation was not a coincidence. As author Kay Dian Kriz notes, we tend of think of the emancipation of enslaved peoples as "an event that ended African slavery, but it might be more usefully analyzed as a process that unfolded over nearly a decade and involved changes in the civil and social status of a broad array of people marked as ethnically or racially inferior to whites in the British West Indies." (63) The story of the vestry debates in Barbados reminds us that Jewish emancipation was also part of a larger negotiation of civil rights and social status in the colonies.

Our discussion of the Barbados vestry bill suggests that the drive for Jewish emancipation deserves to play a larger role in Jewish American history. Emancipation was a crucial means by which Jews became full citizens of both nations and colonies. Moreover, as the vestry debates reveal, Jews often had a role in forging the new identities engendered by this transformation. The minute books of Congregation Nidhe Israel suggest that historians would be wise to look not only at the debates on the legislature's floor, but also at the discussions Jews had among themselves, whether behind closed doors or in arguments that spilled into the public arena.

(1.) In "Looking Jewish, Seeing Jews," Matthew Frye Jacobson argues that prior to the second half of the nineteenth century, Jewish difference was "primarily cast in terms of the 'infidel' or the 'blasphemer'"; in contrast, by the time of the "mild flurry of ideological Anti-Semitism" that occurred during the Civil War, Jews' "physiognomy itself was [seen as] significant--denoting, as it did, their essential unassimilability to the republic." In contrast, in "The Jew as the Original 'Other': Difference, Antisemitism, and Race," Aron Rodrigue presents the "modern racialization of Jew-hatred" as "built on centuries of anti-Jewish tropes." Yet, in Rodrigue's analysis, "Jew hatred" is something done to Jews, rather than part of a larger process of race making in which Jews were themselves participants, usually in opposition to racialized "others." Aron Rodrigue, "The Jews as the Original 'Other': Difference, Antisemitism, and Race," in Doing Race: 21 Essays for the 21th Century, edited by Hazel Rose Markus and Paula M.L. Moya (New York: W.W. Norton, 2010), 187. Leonard Rogoff, "Is the Jew White? The Racial Place of the Southern Jew," American Jewish History 85, No. 3 (1997): 195-230.

(2.) Michele Elam, "The 'Ethno-Ambiguo Hostility Syndrome': Mixed-Race, Identity, and Popular Culture," in Doing Race: 21 Essays for the 21" Century, edited by Hazel Rose Markus and Paula M.L. Moya (New York: W.W. Norton, 2010), 533.

(3.) Karl Watson, "Shifting Identities: Religion, Race, and Creolization among the Sephardi Jews of Barbados, 1654-1900," in The Jews in the Caribbean, edited by Jane S. Gerber (Portland: Littman Library, 2.014), 198. Abraham Rodrigues Brandon also owned the Dear's and Reed's Bay plantations in Barbados. Ann Gegan, e-mail to author, December 9, 2011.

(4.) Elaine Forman Crane, A Dependent People: Newport, Rhode Island in the Revolutionary Era (New York: Fordham University Press, 1992), 107-19, 126-7; Robert Middlekauff, Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763-1789 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1982), 60-9; David Beck Ryden, West Indian Slavery and British Abolition, 1783-1807 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009), 8; Richard Sheridan, "The Crisis of Slave Subsistence in the British West Indies during and after the American Revolution," William and Mary Quarterly (3rd Series), 33 (1976): 615-41. Aron and Judy Hirt-Manheimer, "Diaspora: Miracle in Barbados," Reform Judaism (2009) http://

(5.) Mordechai Arbell, The Jewish Nation of the Caribbean: The Spanish-Portuguese Jewish Settlements in the Caribbean and the Guianas (New York: Gefen, 2001), 214-15. Between 1700 and 1848, the community dropped from 250 Jews to 71; moreover, by 1848, only about half of these Jews belonged to the congregation. Eustace M. Shilstone, Monumental Inscriptions in the Burial Ground of the Jewish Synagogue at Bridgetown, Barbados (Hong Kong: Macmillan Publishers, Ltd, 1988), xviii.

(6.) Arbell, Jewish Nation of the Caribbean, 215.

(7.) Historian Eli Faber notes that in 1817, there were several free people of color in Barbados with Jewish last names. They had acquired their family names through concubinage or from their Jewish fathers, or from having taken the names of their former owners when they were manumitted. These include Harriet Levi, Sarah Barrow, Eliza Brandon, Isaac Cohen and Benjamin Brandon in St. Michael's parish. PRO, T 71.520. Eli Faber, Jews, Slaves, and the Slave Trade: Setting the Record Straight (New York: New York University Press, 1988), 152-55. See also Watson, "Shifting Identities," 212-21.

(8.) Todd M. Endelman, The Jews of Georgian England, 1714-1830: Tradition and Change in a Liberal Society, (Ann Arbor Paperbacks) 59-63, 88-93. Dror Wahrman, The Making of the Modern Self: Identity and Culture in Eighteenth Century England (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press), 93-95.

(9.) Endelman, Jews of Georgian England, 282; David Vital, A People Apart: The Jews in Europe, 2789-1939 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 39-42.

(10.) David Feldman, Englishmen and Jews: Social Relations and Political Culture 1840-1914 (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press), 25.

(11.) Karl Watson, The Civilized Island, Barbados: A Social History 1750-1816 (St. George, Barbados: Caribbean Graphic, 1979), 7-8.

(12.) For a discussion of the intersection of Jewish and black emancipation in Jamaica, see Kay Dian Kriz, "Belisario's 'Kingston Cries' and the Refinement of Jewish Identity in the Late 1830s," 163-178, in Art and Emancipation in Jamaica: Isaac Mendes Belisario and His Worlds, edited by Tim Barringer, Gillian Forrester and Barbaro Martinez-Ruiz (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2007).

(13.) Thomas J. Keagy, "The Poor Whites of Barbados," Revista de Historia de America 73A4 (1972-): 27.

(14.) Likewise, emancipation meant that the distinction between enslaved blacks as a permanent group of servants and white indentured (impermanent) servants was eliminated. Shortly after emancipation, Samuel Jackman Prescod became the first "colored man" to sit in the House of the Assembly in 1843. Arnold S. Sio, "Race, Colour, and Miscegenation: The Free Coloured of Jamaica and Barbados," Caribbean Studies 16, No. 1 (1976): 8-12. The Barbados Parliament, 2009.

(15.) Nidhe Israel Minute Books, Vol. 8, 1-3. In England until 1837, provisions for the poor were the responsibility of each vestry or congregation.

(16.) Richard Hall, Acts Passed in the Island of Barbados. From 1643 to 1762, Inclusive (London, 1764), 252-69. Watson, The Civilized Island, 7-8. The Making of the Modern World. Web. August 22, 2012. Sir Henry Alleyne Bovell and Sir William Herbert Greaves, Laws of Barbados, Vol. 3, issue 38, 372-73. The Barbados Parliament, 2009.

(17.) Nidhe Israel Minute Books, Vol. 8, 5-7.

(18.) Nidhe Israel Minute Books, Vol. 8, 7.

(19.) Nidhe Israel Minute Books, Vol. 8, 19.

(20.) Nidhe Israel Minute Books, Vol. 8, 90-91.

(21.) Nidhe Israel Minute Books, Vol. 8, 42-44.

(22.) Nidhe Israel Minute Books, Vol. 8, 41-42.

(23.) Nidhe Israel Minute Books, Vol. 8, 1-3, 23, 33, 44, 77, 106, 126, Spanish and Portuguese Jews Congregation Archives, B07/085 LMA/4521/D/01/01/008. London Metropolitan Archives, London, England.

(24.) Nidhe Israel Minute Books, Vol. 8, 16-17.

(25.) Aron Rodrigue, "The Jews as the Original 'Other,'" 194-97.

(26.) Paula M. L. Moya and Hazel Rose Marcus, "Doing Race: An Introduction," in Doing Race: 21 Essays for the 21st Century, edited by Hazel Rose Markus and Paula M.L. Moya (New York: W.W. Norton, 2010), 4.

(27.) Nidhe Israel Minute Books, Vol. 8, 22-23. Cecily Jones, Engendering Whiteness: White Women and Colonialism in Barbados and North Carolina, 1627-1865 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2007), 18, 32.

(28.) Nidhe Israel Minute Books, Vol. 8, 23-24.

(29.) Nidhe Israel Minute Books, Vol. 8, 43.

(30.) Keagy, "The Poor Whites of Barbados," 27.

(31.) Watson, "Shifting Identities," 212-21.

(32.) Nidhe Israel Minute Books, Vol. 8, 25.

(33.) Nidhe Israel Minute Books, Vol. 8, 47-48.

(34.) Nidhe Israel Minute Books, Vol. 8, 126.

(35.) David de Sola Pool, Portraits Etched in Stone: Early Jewish Settlers, 1682-1831 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1953), 2.51-59, 384-92, 422, 426-27, 437.

(36.) Malcolm H. Stern, first American Jewish Families: 600 Genealogies, 1654-1977 (Cincinnati, Ohio: AJA, 1978), 27, 209. L.D. Barnett, Bevis Marks Records Part II: Abstracts of the Ketubot or Marriage Contracts of the Congregation from Earliest Times until 1837 (Oxford University Press, 1949), 121.

(37.) Nidhe Israel Minute Books, Vol. 8, 54.

(38.) Jones, Engendering Whiteness, 82, 101.

(39.) Compare, for example, the wills of spinster Sarah Henriquez (1774) to those of widows Sarah Belifante (1785), Abigail Henriques (1755), and Sarah Lopez (1789). RB6 Vol. z, 145; Vol. 18, 353, Vol. 28, 511; Vol. 30, 196-98, Barbados Department of Archives, Bridgetown, Barbados.

(40.) Jones, Engendering Whiteness, 106-07.

(41.) Lunah Pinheiro was 72 when she died in 1824. Rachel Pinheiro was 85 when she died in 1822. Esther Nunes died at age 86 in 1855. Shilstone, Monumental Inscriptions, 176, 180. See also the family's genealogy by Michelle Terrell, "The Pinheiros of Nevis and Barbados," The Jewish Community of Nevis Archaeology Project, 2011. http://www. Although genealogies confirm that the two older women never married, it is reasonable to believe that Esther Nunes also did not marry, because the Yehadim referred to each of the female counter-petitioners as "Miss." Nidhe Israel Minute Books, Vol. 8, 80.

(42.) Nidhe Israel Minute Books, Vol. 8, 44.

(43.) Nidhe Israel Minute Books, Vol. 8, 41.

(44.) Michael Bush, "Richard Carlile and the Female Reformers of Manchester: a Study of Gender in the 1820s Viewed through the Radical Filter of Republicanism, Freethought and a Philosophy of Sexual Satisfaction," Manchester Region History Review 16, No. 1 (2002-3): 2-3.

(45.) Arbell, Jewish Nation of the Caribbean, 215.

(46.) Nidhe Israel Minute Books, Vol. 8, 54.

(47.) Nidhe Israel Minute Books, Vol. 8, 54-55.

(48.) Sarah Simpson Wood (1802-1892.) was an Anglican and her father was "an important sugar cane plantation grower on Barbados ...; after the marriage Abraham obtained more land." Ann Gegan, email to author, December 9, 2011.

(49.) Nidhe Israel Minute Books, Vol. 8, 80.

(50.) Erin Mackie, Rakes, Highwaymen, and Pirates: The Making of the Modern Gentleman in the Eighteenth Century (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press): 1-8.

(51.) Dana Y. Rabin, "The Jew Bill of 1753: Masculinity, Virility, and the Nation," Eighteenth-Century Studies 39, No. 2 (Winter, 2006): 160-3.

(52.) Carey McIntosh, The Evolution of English Prose 1700-1800: Style, Politeness, and Print Culture (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 32.

(53.) Nidhe Israel Minute Books, Vol. 8, 54, 82.

(54.) Nidhe Israel Minute Books, Vol. 8, 107-8. Emphasis in the original.

(55.) Nidhe Israel Minute Books, Vol. 8, 79.

(56.) Nidhe Israel Minute Books, Vol. 8, 41-2.

(57.) Jones, Engendering Whitenesss, 33.

(58.) Jones, Engendering Whitenesss, 18. Nidhe Israel Minute Books, Vol. 8, 40-43.

(59.) Literary critic Laura Stevens has argued that pity and compassion exalt the person feeling the emotion over the subject of the emotion while maintaining a degree of difference between the two subjects involved. Pitying someone in the eighteenth century gave moral high ground to the person feeling pity, because pity "emerged from an acknowledgement of obligation." Laura M. Stevens, The Poor Indians: British Missionaries, Native Americans, and Colonial Sensibility (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press), 8-9.

Funding for this project was made possible by a Ruby-Lankford Grant for Faculty-Student Collaborative Research in the Humanities (2012) and by the generous access to the Nidhe Israel Collection granted by the Bevis Marks Synagogue of London.

(60.) Endelman, The Jews of Georgian England, 248-88.

(61.) M.C.N. Salbstein, The Emancipation of the Jews in Britain: The Question of the Admission of the Jews to Parliament, 1828-1860 (London: Associated University Presses, 1982), 57.

(62.) Sheldon J. Godfrey and Judith C. Godfrey, Search out the Land: The Jews and the Growth of Equality in British Colonial America, 1740-1867 (Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1995), 191-202, 209, 303.

(63.) Wieke Vink, Creole Jews: Negotiating Community in Colonial Suriname (Caribbean Series), 78-83. Kriz, "Belisario's 'Kingston Cries,"' 163.
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Author:Leibman, Laura Arnold; May, Sam
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Date:Jan 1, 2015
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