American Coin Silver Pitcher of Jewish Interest
dated A.M. 5602 (1841/42), by Gale, Wood & Hughes, New York, New York, the inverted pear-shaped body decorated with a wide repousse floral band centering opposing rococo cartouches, with acanthus calyx and milled leaf-and-peg banding at the shoulder, with everted integral collar, crested acanthus-scroll handle and raised on a domed, serpentine-lobed circular foot, engraved with inscription: "Presented by / the Single Young Men / of the / Congregation Bnai Jeshurun / Elm St. / to their Pastor / Rev. S. M. Isaacs / as a mark of their high / Estimation and Regard / for his public character and / Private Worth / New York, A.M. 5602".
h. 12", l. 10-1/4", dia. 6-1/4"; 32.27 t. oz.
Notes: Samuel Meyer Isaacs was born on January 4, 1804, in Leeuwarden, Netherlands but raised and educated in England. He emigrated to the United States in 1839 and was hired the first Rabbi of the B'nai Jeshurun congregation, which had been formed in 1825 - the second in New York and the ninth in the United States - when a group of Ashkenazic members left Shearith Israel to form the new, mostly English, congregation. Isaacs was the first rabbi in New York to conduct services in English and was, as evidenced by this handsome presentation pitcher, much admired by his congregation. However, within two years of its presentation, the congregation was divided as its numbers swelled with new German immigrants, and Isaacs and twelve other Anglo-Dutch families left to form Temple Shaaray Tefila in 1844. Isaacs founded the newspaper Jewish Messenger, in which he promoted Jewish education, orthodoxy, harmony with Christian sects, and anti-slavery. (He was one of the officiants at Abraham Lincoln's funeral.) Isaacs died on May 19, 1878 and is interred in Salem Fields Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York.