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These Puritans viewed their emigration from England as a virtual re-enactment of the Jewish exodus from Egypt.

To them, England was Egypt, the king was Pharaoh, the Atlantic Ocean was the Red Sea, America was the Land of Israel, and the Indians were the ancient Canaanites.

They were the new Israelites, entering into a new covenant with God in a new Promised Land.

Thanksgiving ― first celebrated in 1621, a year after the Mayflower landed ― was initially conceived as a day parallel to the Jewish Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur; it was to be a day of fasting, introspection and prayer.

This and the other documents of early America make it clear that the concept of a God-given standard of morality is a central pillar of American democracy. Many more things can be said about the Jewish influence on the values of America, but this is, after all, a crash course. The history of Jews in America begins before the United States was an independent country.

The first Jews arrived in America with Columbus in 1492, and we also know that Jews newly-converted to Christianity were among the first Spaniards to arrive in Mexico with Conquistador Hernando Cortez in 1519.

Beneath the banner containing the Latin "Lux et Veritas," the Yale seal shows an open book with the Hebrew "Urim V'Timum," which was a part of the breastplate of the High Priest in the days of the Temple.

The Plymouth Colony had a similar law code as did the Massachusetts assembly, which, in 1641 adopted the so-called "Capitall Laws of New England" based almost entirely on Mosaic law.

The creation of the United States of America represented a unique event in world history – founded as a modern republic, it was rooted in the Bible, and one of its earliest tenets was religious tolerance.

This is because many of the earliest pilgrims who settled the "New England" of America in early 17th century were Puritan refugees escaping religious persecutions in Europe.

For example, in Charleston, South Carolina, almost every adult Jewish male fought on the side of freedom.

In Georgia, the first patriot to be killed was a Jew (Francis Salvador).

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