January 05, 2008

Today in Jewish History - Tevet 26

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In 1826, Maryland adopted a law which allowed Jews to hold public office, on condition that they accept the concept of reward and punishment in the afterlife. Maryland was founded as an asylum for Catholics in 1634, and in the early days the denial of Christianity was a capital crime in Maryland. Anyone speaking negatively about Mary or the Apostles was subject to a fine or public whipping. The practice of Judaism was finally legalized in Maryland in 1776, but other restrictions remained in place. It was not until 50 years later that Jews became qualified for public office.