Mordecai Noah

Mordecai Manuel Noah

Politician (1785-1851).  Noah, a former army major, playwright, New York City politician and newspaper editor,  persuaded a wealthy benefactor to purchase a large portion of Grand Island as a temporary homeland for the Jews.  An 1825 dedication ceremony was held for the new refuge, which was to be called Ararat, in St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Buffalo.

Noah was of the opinion that there was no place in the old world where Jews had a hope of achieving equality pending the reestablishment of the Jewish nation in Israel.  His plan and his overly grandiose personal style were widely ridiculed by prominent Jews of the time, and he did not follow up on arranging for concrete development of the island.  No Jews moved there.   It may now be safely concluded, in light of the events of the twentieth century, that Noah was a visionary who alone was right when the rest of the world was tragically wrong.

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