Rebecca Samuels 1790 01

First Letter:
Originally written in Yiddish and translated
Petersburg, (VA) January 12, 1791, Wednesday, 8th [7th ?] Shebat, 5551.
Dear and Worthy Parents:
I received your dear letter with much pleasure and therefrom understand that you are in good health, thank God, and that made us especially happy. The same is not lacking with us — may we live to be a hundred years. Amen….
We are completely isolated here. ‘We do not have any friends, and when we do not hear from you for any length of time, it is enough to make us sick. I hope that I will get to see some of my family. That will give me some satisfaction.
You write me that Mr. Jacob Renner’s son Reuben is in Philadelphia and that he will come to us. People will not advise him to come to Virginia. When the Jews of Philadelphia or New York hear the name ‘Virginia, they get nasty. And they are not wrong! It won’t do for a Jew. In the first place it is an unhealthful district, and we are only human. God forbid, if anything should happen to us, where would we be thrown? There is no cemetery in the whole of ‘Virginia. In Richmond, which is twenty-two miles from here, there is a Jewish community consisting of two quorums [twenty men], and the two cannot muster a quarter [quorum when needed?].
You cannot imagine what kinds of Jews they have here [in Virginia]. They were all German itinerants who made a living by begging in Germany. They came to America during the war, as soldiers, and now they can’t recognize themselves.
One can make a good living her, and all live at peace. Anyone can do what he wants. There is no rabbi in all of America to excommunicate anyone. There is a blessing here. Jew and Gentile are as one. There is no galut [“exile,” rejection of Jews] here. In New York and Philadelphia there is more galut. The reason is that there are too many German Gentiles and Jews there. The German Gentiles cannot forsake their anti-Jewish prejudice, and the German Jews cannot forsake their disgraceful conduct, and that what makes the galut.
[Letter is incomplete]

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