90 197 LEESER, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript Signed. Certificate of Conversion. Written in Hebrew, signed by Leeser in Hebrew and English, along with three other signatures (see below). One page, edges slightly chipped. 4to. Philadelphia, 21st Tammuz, 1844. $8000 - $12,000 ❧ A HIGHLY SCARCE EARLY AMERICAN CONVERSION CERTIFICATE. This rabbinical document attests to the ritual conversion to Judaism of the three children of Moses ben Nathan Bomeisler: His daughter Rebecca and his two sons, Benjamin and David. The entire document is written in Hebrew by Isaac Leeser who attests that the father promised to raise the children within the Jewish faith. The unnamed Christian mother testified to Leeser’s satisfaction that she had granted irrevocable consent to the process. A ritual Jewish conversion requires the assent of three members of a Beth-Din (Rabbinical Court). Hence, in addition to Leeser, the document is signed by Abraham Israel, (scribe and beadle of the Cherry Street Synagogue), Jacob Phillips (manager of the United Hebrew Benevolent Society) and I.L. Hackenburg. See Dana Evan Kaplan, Intermarriage and Conversion to Judaism in Early American Orthodoxy in: Tradition, Vol. 31, No. 4 (Summer 1997) pp. 39-51. Lot 197 198 LEESER, ISAAC. Autograph Letter Signed written to his uncle Zalma Rehine, in English. Autograph address panel on verso. A personal letter, in which Leeser discusses his recovery from illness and the wedding of Grace Nathan (1809-87) to Jacques Judah Lyons (1813-77), to be held in two days’ time. Leeser expresses an interest in expanding the readership for The Occident in Baltimore, even though Baltimore’s Jews “are all German.” One page. Tear at the top, where the year is missing (but known to us because of the wedding described.) Folio. Philadelphia, 21st November, (1842). $3000 - $5000 ❧ Leeser was very close with his uncle Zalma Rehine (1757-1843), who had invited him to emigrate to America. Rehine was sufficiently Americanized that he had been part of a Richmond militia as early as 1793. Rehine was still a member when this volunteer company, known as the Richmond Light Infantry Blues, nearly confronted the British in the 1807 Chesapeake– Leopard affair while awaiting instructions from President Thomas Jefferson. Rehine was a founder of the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, the oldest synagogue in that city. For more than a decade this congregation met in his home above his store. Leeser lived with Zalma and his wife Rachel during his initial five years in America, where he learned English, American ways, and emerged as a young American Jewish leader under the security of this relationship. Lot 198