This is an umbrella project for all projects related to Jews from Georgia.
The Jewish settlement in Georgia dates almost from the very foundation of the colony; and the early history of Georgia is practically the history of the growth and development of Savannah, Jewish life centering in that city. It would appear that a movement was set on foot in London to settle some Jews in the colony even before James Oglethorpe, in June, 1733, led his first band of followers to the point which soon after became the city of Savannah. The second vessel which reached the colony from England (on July 11, 1733) had among its passengers no less than forty Jewish emigrants. Though their arrival was unexpected, the liberal-minded governor welcomed them gladly, notwithstanding that he was aware that the trustees of the colony in England had expressed some opposition to permitting Jews to settle there. These first settlers were all of Spanish, Portuguese, and Prussian extraction, though within a year of their arrival others, who were apparently German Jews, also took up their residence there. These two bands of settlers received equally liberal treatment from Oglethorpe, and were the progenitors of one of the most important communities of Jews in the U.S. Many of their descendants are still living in various parts of the country. The first male white child born in the colony was a Jew, Philip (Uri) Minis on July 11, 1734. Among the first immigrants was Dr. Nunis, who was made welcome because of his medical knowledge, and because he, with a number of others, brought sufficient wealth to the colony to enable the immigrants to take up large tracts of land. A congregation was organized as early as 1734. Three years later Abraham de Lyon, who had been a vineron in Portugal, introduced the culture of grapes. The cultivation and manufacture of silk and the pursuit of agriculture and of commerce were the chief occupations of these early settlers. A dispute with the trustees of the colony respecting the introduction of slaves caused an extensive emigration to South Carolina in 1741, and resulted in the dissolution of the congregation. But in 1751 a number of Jews returned to Georgia, and in the same year the trustees sent over Joseph Ottolenghi to superintend the somewhat extensive silk-industry in the colony. Ottolenghi soon attained prominence in the political life of his associates, and was elected a member of the Assembly in 1761 and in succeeding years. There seems to have been little if any distinction made socially between the Jews and the other settlers, and educational and philanthropic institutions seem to have been supported by all alike.