Editor's introduction.

Author:Ashton, Dianne

It is often useful and instructive to take a fresh look at fields of study that involve topics and data that have lain fallow for some time. In this issue, two scholars offer new analyses, insights and perspectives on elements of American Jewish history that have seldom garnered attention before. The third takes a new look at Jewish humor.

Howard B. Rock explains the extraordinary significance of the 1913 Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society, forerunner to our current journal. That year's volume printed the minute books (1727-1786) of the first Jewish congregation in New York City, Shearith Israel. Rock's analysis reveals the richness of those early minutes and the dynamic changes the congregation underwent as its members lived through the tumultuous years from colonial to early republic New York. is essay is the second offering in our new feature, called "Signposts," that reflects upon the journal's long history.

One man in a family noted by Rock, Abraham Mendes Seixas, is the focus of Carla Vieira's exploration of the Portuguese roots of New York City's influential Seixas family. Looking at records of the Portuguese Inquisition along with family and business correspondence, she unmasks the identities of Sephardic families whose...

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