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Letter from Reverend Hugh M. Newlands to His "Jewish Friends and Neighbors"

Reverend Newlands to his Jewish Neighbors
Jewish Theological Seminary Archives

As the persecution of Jews in Europe intensified in 1938, a pastor at Wynnefield United Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia penned the featured letter to his "dear Jewish friends and neighbors." How widely Reverend Hugh M. Newlands' message may have been distributed is unclear, but Simon Greenberg—a Russian-born American rabbi serving in Philadelphia—saved the letter.

Newlands would have likely formed relationships with his neighbors in the predominantly Jewish neighborhood of Wynnefield, and his letter reflects a desire to clarify Christian attitudes toward Jews so that "misunderstandings may be dispelled." The pastor asserts that "Christian" antisemitism did not accurately represent Christianity in several respects, neglecting its deep connections to Judaism.

Newlands' letter also refers to the persecution of Jews in "other countries," evidencing an increasing awareness among American Christian leaders of the growing persecution of European Jews in Germany and across Europe. In light of this escalating intolerance, the pastor emphasizes that a shared history and spiritual fraternity between Jews and Christians should form the basis for solidarity in Jewish–Christian relations—an uncommon assertion in this era.

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Archival Information for This Item

Source (Credit)
Jewish Theological Seminary Archives
Accession Number Rabbi Simon Greenberg Papers, Box 2, Folder 34
Date Created
October 10, 1938
Author / Creator
Reverend Hugh M. Newlands
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Document Type Letter
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