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In January, 1925, Adolph Ochs, owner and publisher of the New York Times, wrote to Bishop William Manning of New York stating that he wished to donate $10,000 towards the construction of the Diocese’s new Cathedral of St. John the Divine, as well as to contribute two golden menorahs. These would be a “gift from one of the Jewish faith” to the Cathedral project.” The menorahs were dedicated several years later to great fanfare in both the American and Jewish press, and stand in the cathedral today. The story of their donation speaks to the progressivism of, and the power of progressive and universalizing ideas in, the American Jewish community during this period, even as their reception in the Christian community speaks to the asymmetry that often characterized ecumenical efforts between Jews and Protestants. The donation further revealed tensions between the progressive optimism of the Reform Jewish establishment and the more cautious posture of the East-European Jewish community.

In: The Arch of Titus