Excerpts of this week’s posting were taken from Ben Carson’s Book, “America The Beautiful: Rediscovering What Made This Nation Great”
Haym Salomon immigrated to the New World from Poland in 1772. George Washington recognized Haym’s strength of character and they became good friends at a time when those of Jewish faith often suffered from bigotry and, because of a lack of understanding, stereotyping as well.
Congress had no taxation powers and they needed money to fund the Revolutionary War. Most states refused to lend the newly formed federal government money. The government was left with no choice but to borrow money to fund the war. At the time of the war for independence, Mr. Salomon had become a prosperous currency broker and he agreed to use his financial savvy to help finance the revolution…even to the point of volunteering his own 600,000 pounds of sterling (an immense fortune today). Shennanigans from overseas funding fell though and time and time again Mr. Salomon came to the rescue underwriting funds and brokering dependable deals for the revolution.
Haym Salomon was later captured by the British. Did his love of and effort for his country end with capture? Far from it…he utilized his superior intelligence and became an adroit spy for Washington. Per the writings of Michael Feldberg (as quoted in Mr. Carson’s book), “Within five years of his arrival in Philadelphia, Salomon advanced from penniless fugitive to respected businessman, philanthropist and defender of his people. Salomon’s name is forever linked to the idealism and success of the American Revolution and to the contribution s Jews have made to the cause of American freedom.”
Although it is difficult to verify, many believe that a Star of David on the back of the one dollar bill is a tribute to Haym Salomon and the many Jewish Americans who fought for our initial freedom.
Happy Rosh Hashana! And…bless you, Haym Salomon!