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The First Jewish Doctor of Maryland

There is some evidence that Jews came to Maryland with the first waves of colonists, but the first documented arrival of a known Jew occurs this year when Doctor Jacob Lumbrozo arrives. He was born in Portugal, lived in the Netherlands and has come to Maryland on business. He will eventually apply for permanent residence. The reason history will know of the good doctor is due to an unpleasant episode a few years later when he will be accused of blasphemy. In Maryland, under the Laws of Tolerance, blasphemy against Jesus is a capital crime. I dare say that the rules for blasphemy in the 17th century are so strict that I can almost guarantee that every single listener to the Survival Podcast today would qualify as a blasphemer under the Maryland Laws of Tolerance. All you would have to do is to hit your thumb with a hammer, and shout... well... you know what you would shout, and that would do it. (It was nice knowing you.) Luckily, Doctor Lumbrozo will catch a break when the Maryland legislature declares a general amnesty to honor the Lord Protector Cromwell. Thereafter, the Doctor will live in Maryland unmolested, but the central question of religious freedom will not be resolved until the early 1800s. [1] [2] [3] [4]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Let's put this into perspective. European Christianity has not covered itself in glory in the 17th century. The French massacre of 1655 was the rule in religious war... not the exception. With that kind of carnage and outright cruelty going on in Europe, the Maryland Christians looked like frickin' saints in comparison. The colonists were trying to find a new Christian way and they made mistakes along the way... often big mistakes... but they were trying. In history we are going to see several Christian renewals, and additional mistakes and then additional renewals. It will get better, but my sense is that modern Americans idealize these times and forget (or never realized) that these were real people carving out a life in an unforgiving and deadly wilderness. Medical practice at the time was primitive, but Jewish and "Moorish" doctors were considered the-best-of-the-best and were the doctors of kings. Thus it was unsurprising that the lawmakers moved Heaven and Earth to avoid prosecuting a Jewish doctor. Even lawmakers know which side of the buttered bread hits the floor first. [5]

A Study in the Diseases of Miners... and Minors *

Samuel Stockhausen publishes one of the earliest formal studies of occupational diseases this year. In this case, he has studied the diseases of miners. He has found that lead poisoning in miners is due to breathing lead fumes. Lead poisoning has been known for centuries, but it is not easy to pin down all the symptoms. For example, no one has noticed, yet, that lead poisoning also causes anemia. Last year severe abdominal pain called "Devon's colic" developed after drinking Devon's apple cider. Currently everyone thinks it is due to something unique about Devon's apples. It will be years before they realize that the barrels in which the cider is made is being cleaned out using lead shot. The lead residue in the barrels is causing lead poisoning. [6] [7] [8] [9]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
I've been told that the Roman Empire fell because of lead poisoning due to the lead pipes the Romans used for plumbing. I find that hard to believe but the word "plumbing" is related to the Latin word for lead... plumbum. Lead in the diet of children tends to thwart the proper growth of the nervous system (and thus the development of the brain). That is why lead-based paints are no longer recommended for use in nurseries. Little children used to put flecks of chipped paint into their mouth and it didn't take much lead exposure to mess with their proper development. One should also avoid lead-based paint when decorating one's dinner dishes or lead-based glaze for pottery. [10] [11]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1656, Wikipedia.

See Also


* The asterisk in the section header indicates that it was read on the podcast.
  1. Adler, Cyrus (1907). "Address of the President". Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society (Johns Hopkins University Press) (16): 1-6. http://www.jstor.org/stable/43059600. Retrieved August 10, 2015. "The records which have been unearthed relating to Dr. Jacob Lumbrozo form in many ways one of the most interesting narratives in American Jewish history, and cast a decidedly important light upon the history of this State, for they show that because of a non-belief in the essential dogma of Christianity, a physician who was established in this colony as early as January 24, 1656, who had a plantation, and practiced his useful profession, was arrested on the charge of blasphemy; that he escaped trial by reason of a general amnesty, and thereafter enjoyed all the privileges of a native or naturalized subject, and was able to live in peace and amass considerable wealth, both real and personal". 
  2. (1906) "Lumbrozo, Jacob", Jewish Encyclopedia. Retrieved on 7 October 2015. “His arrival formed, directly or indirectly, an important event in the life of the province. He early exercised his profession, and apparently enjoyed a lucrative practise. On Sept. 10, 1663, letters of denization were issued to him, together with certain privileges, enabling him to take up land under the liberal terms established by the proprietary—a privilege of which he promptly availed himself.” 
  3. Jacob Lumbrozo - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 7 October 2015. “He is the first Jewish resident of Maryland who can be identified by documentary evidence.”
  4. Hollander, J. H. (1893). "Some Unpublished Material Relating to Dr. Jacob Lumbrozo, of Maryland". Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society (Johns Hopkins University Press) (1): 25-39. http://www.jstor.org/stable/43058505. Retrieved August 10, 2015. "De jure , the Act of Toleration of 1649, it is seen, could punish with death an imprudent comparison of the miracles of Christ with those of Moses and the magicians of Egypt. On the other hand, an unbeliever useful in an economic sense was permitted to live de facto in peace and even in quiet profession of faith". 
  5. Moor - definition of moor (2015). Retrieved on 8 October 2015. “One of the Muslims who invaded Spain in the 8th century and established a civilization in Andalusia that lasted until the late 15th century.”
  6. George Rosen (June 1, 2012). The History of Miners' Diseases: A Medical and Social Interpretation. Retrieved on October 8, 2015. 
  7. Birgitta Haeger-Aronsen (January 1971). "An Assessment of the Laboratory Tests Used to Monitor the Exposure of Lead Workers". British Journal of Industrial Medicine (BMJ) 28 (1): 52-58. http://www.jstor.org/stable/27722589. 
  8. Lead poisoning - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 8 October 2015. “Routes of exposure to lead include contaminated air, water, soil, food, and consumer products. Occupational exposure is a common cause of lead poisoning in adults. According to estimates made by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), more than 3 million workers in the United States are potentially exposed to lead in the workplace.”
  9. Lead poisoning - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 8 October 2015. “In 1656 the German physician Samuel Stockhausen recognized dust and fumes containing lead compounds as the cause of disease, called since ancient Roman times morbi metallici, that were known to afflict miners, smelter workers, potters, and others whose work exposed them to the metal.”
  10. Plumb - definition of plumb (2015). Retrieved on 8 October 2015. “1250–1300; Middle English plumbe, probably < Anglo-French plombe < Vulgar Latin plumba, for Latin plumbum lead”
  11. A. Meiklejohn (July 1963). "The Successful Prevention of Lead Poisoning in the Glazing of Earthenware in the North Staffordshire Potteries". British Journal of Industrial Medicine 20 (3): 169-180. 

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