The Jewish World of Alexander Hamilton

Andrew Porwancher

Chair: Stuart Halpern

02/03/2022 2:30 pm
On Zoom, Virtual Event



This is the untold story of the founding father’s likely Jewish birth and upbringing—and its revolutionary consequences for understanding him and the nation he fought to create. For more than two centuries, Alexander Hamilton’s youth in the Caribbean has remained shrouded in mystery, as he preferred, with most biographers assuming a Christian boyhood. But with his life in focus like never before thanks to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s global hit musical Hamilton, historian Andrew Porwancher debunks a string of myths. He looks not only at Hamilton’s background but the unique relationship he cultivated with the Jewish community, striking given the pernicious antisemitism of the era. In a new nation torn between democratic promises and discriminatory practices, he fought for a republic in which Jew and Gentile would stand as equals.

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In Association with Lockdown University

Andrew Porwancher

Andrew Porwancher is the Wick Cary Associate Professor at the University of Oklahoma. His books include The Devil Himself: A Tale of Honor, Insanity, and the Birth of Modern America.

Stuart Halpern

Rabbi Dr. Stu Halpern is Senior Advisor to the Provost of Yeshiva University and Deputy Director of YU’s Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought, and is responsible for developing educational and communal initiatives that bridge Torah and general studies. He has edited 17 books, including most recently Esther in America: The Scroll's Interpretation in and Impact on the United States. His writing has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, The Jerusalem Post, JTA, Tablet, and Jewish Review of Books and he teaches in Yeshiva University, synagogues, Hillels and adult educational settings across the U.S., Europe and Israel.