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Supreme Court Corrects Justice Elena Kagan's Dissent

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KAGAN
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan lights a menorah, before speaking during a conversation with Leon Wieseltier at the Jewish Primary Day School Yitzhak Rabin Memorial Lecture, at the 6th & I Historic Synagogue, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) | ASSOCIATED PRESS
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Earlier this month, the Supreme Court upheld the right of legislatures to open with sectarian religious prayer in the case of Town of Greece v. Galloway. In the aftermath of that decision, much attention was given to Justice Elena Kagan’s spirited dissent, in which she invoked her Jewish heritage to argue against permitting the prayers, citing the famous story of George Washington’s visit to the Jewish community of Newport, Rhode Island.

But as I noted at the time, Kagan made a small miscue in her Jewish history lesson: she labeled Newport as “the first community of American Jews,” when that honor in fact belongs to New Amsterdam (today’s New York), where Jews settled in 1654.

Read the whole story at Tablet Magazine