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Poetry and Fiction by Rebekah Hyneman (1816-1875)


Rebekah Hyneman's Conversion

This is a document describing the conversion to Judaism of a woman, the daughter of a Jewish father and a Christian mother and the widow of a Jewish man. Her two sons converted at the same time as their mother.

Click here for the story of a Philadelphia Quaker's Conversion to Judaism.

Click here for Information About Converting to Judaism.

(Isaac Leeser Collection, Center for Judaic Studies (formerly Annenberg Institute), Philadelphia, PA)


Philadelphia Sunday the 24th of August 21st of Menachem 5605

In persuance of the agenda of Mr. A. Hart President of the Congregation Mikvah Israel Philadelphia summons to sit

Isaac Leeser, Hazan of the congregation
A.E. Israel Shamash of the same
Moses Abrahams & J. L. Hackenberg met as a committee to receive the application of Rebecca Hyneman to be admitted to the congregation of Israel together with her two sons born by her to Benjamin Hyneman, who were both circumcised at the age of eight days, named Elias & Samuel.

Mrs. Hyneman having been requested to attend the committee and being asked what motive induced her to make the above application, she stated that it always had been her desire to become a member of the congregation of Israel, and that no interested motives prompt her to take this step, and that she had always been instructed in the Jewish religion by her father, Abraham Gumpertz. She was admonished that at present she was not bound by the precepts of the Law, and that the moment she embraced the religion she was bound to conform strictly to all the duties and ceremonies of the Jewish religion. To this she replied, that it always had been her sincere wish to have the privilege of being a member of the congregation of Israel, and that as far as is in her power she would educate and bring up her children in the Jewish faith.

Mr. Leon Hyneman, being called by the committee to testify, as to his knowledge of her religious inclinations, stated that he heard nothing from her during all the time she lived at his house which could induce him to think that she was not firm in the principles of the Jewish belief but that on the contrary he is strongly convinced, that she is a sincere believer in the distinctive doctrines of our religion.

The committee then adjourned to meet again on Thursday afternoon.

Pursuant to adjournment the committee met again on Thursday afternoon. Present Isaac Leeser, A.E. Hart, Moses Abrahams & J.L. Hackenburg.

Mrs. Hyneman having again been called before the committee, she was again admonished that she had yet time to reconsider her resolution; but she stated that she had carefully in the meantime thought over the subject and found herself confirmed in her resolution. She was then instructed that she in adopting the Jewish faith must be circumspect in her conversation, thought & conduct, to which she promised to conform faithfully.

Seeing therefore no objection to her being admitted into the privileges of our religion the committee unanimously resolved to accept the said Rebecca Hyneman together with her two sons Elias & Samuel Hyneman.

In testimony of the truth of the foregoing the committee has signed the above statement on the above day Thursday the 28th of August the 25th day of Menachem, 5605.

Isaac Leeser
Abm. E. Israel
Moses Abrahams
J.L. Hackenburg