May 15, 2004

350th Anniversary of Jewish Life in America Medal

The committee established to choose the designs for the official medals celebrating 350 Years of Jewish Life in America has selected the imaginative work of Dana Krinsky.

Official medal commemorating the 350th Anniversary of the Settlement of the Jews in the United States, designed by Dana Krinsky

The medal's obverse design features an extensive excerpt from George Washington's letter to Newport's Hebrew Congregation (now known as the Touro Synagogue), in which he repeated the sentiments originally expressed by Moses Seixas: "A Government which to bigotry gives no sanction, to persecution no assistance ." The quote appears above a New York City-like skyline, with the official Celebrate 350 menorah-logo below.

These are Washington's words as inscribed on the 350th Anniversary Medal:

"The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for giving to Mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy. For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection, should demean themselves as good citizens. May the Children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while every one shall sit under his own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid."

Ms. Krinsky describes the reverse as "representing a straightforward idea of people and hope. Shown is a crowd of men, women and children on a journey of liberation." (Some see them in the shape of a ship's prow, signifying the millions of immigrants who came to America by boat.) She goes on to describe the horizontal lines and stars as a reference to the American flag, representing the hope for a new life, full with opportunities, for all people. The design is rounded out by a biblical phrase from Leviticus (that is also inscribed on the Liberty Bell): "Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land" in English and Hebrew."

The 350th Anniversary Medal will be produced in limited editions following the tradition of the official 250th and 300th Anniversary medals.

They will be available in large 3 inch size in bronze, silver and vermeil (gold-plated silver). The purchase of these medals is one of the best ways for the general public to participate in this important celebration.

The Jewish-American Hall of Fame Division of the American Jewish Historical Society is coordinating the production and distribution of the official medals celebrating the 350th Anniversary of Jewish Life in America. There is only a small supply on hand, so early orders are highly recommended. To order visit our shop. Organizations can request quantity pricing information by e-mailing, calling (818) 225-1348 or writing to the Jewish-American Hall of Fame, 5189 Jeffdale Ave., Woodland Hills, CA 91364.

The Chairman of the 350th Anniversary Medal Committee is Mel Wacks, Founding Director of the Jewish-American Hall of Fame, President of the American Israel Numismatic Association, and a judge for Krause Publications' COTY (Coin of the Year) Award. The other members of the Medal Committee are Dr. Ira Rezak, a major collector of Judaic medals and a member of the Medals and Decorations Committee of the American Numismatic Society; Daniel Friedenberg, the Dean of Judaic Numismatics, former Curator of Coins and Medals for The Jewish Museum, author of Jewish Medals from the Renaissance to the Fall of Napoleon, Jewish Minters & Medalists, Great Jewish Portraits in Metal, etc., and Robert Rifkind, Chairman of Celebrate 350. In addition, Dr. Lawrence Rubin, Executive Director of Celebrate 350, acted as a valued consultant to the Medal Committee.

In the tradition of Jacob Schiff defraying the cost of the medals commemorating the 250th Anniversary of the Settlement of the Jews in the United States medals, David Berley, President of Walter & Samuels, has generously underwritten the 350th anniversary medals.

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