Last week’s Boston Jewish Advocate reported that Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, the first U.S. Secretary of the Treasury and now current Broadway icon, might actually have been Jewish. According to University of Oklahoma Professor Andrew Porwancher, Hamilton’s mother converted to Judaism upon her marriage to a Jewish merchant and then changed her name to Rachel Levine. Dr. Porwancher claims that Hamilton, prior to immigrating to New York from the Dutch Caribbean Island of La Croix, attended Hebrew School, read from the Torah, and spoke the Ten Commandments in Hebrew.
Now, I have no reason to doubt Mr. Porwancher’s research (others I am sure will do so), any more than I ever doubted my Hebrew school teacher Mrs. Waldman’s convictions that Christopher Columbus was a “Marrano” (secret Jew) himself. But if Alexander Hamilton was in fact Jewish or simply raised Jewish, then American colonial history will need to be revised, reformulated, and reanalyzed. Hamilton, the author of America’s first federal banking system, was President Washington’s close associate and confidante. Indeed, he was perhaps the 18th century forerunner to Bernard Baruch, who famously advised U.S. Presidents spanning from Woodrow Wilson to Franklin Roosevelt. How unbelievably fascinating that Alexander Hamilton, the immigrant Founding Father, may also have been Jewish! And if proven to be true, the face of a Jewish hero and American patriot is being preserved forever on the front of our American ten dollar bills.
So how about that…there may actually have been a Jew “in the room where it happened.” Mrs. Waldman would be kvelling had she lived long enough to teach her students about this revelation.
Shabbat Shalom and all my best,