In 1658, fifteen Jewish families emigrated from South America to (what was to become) the United States. These families were of Sephardic lineage and settled together in Newport, Rhode Island, where they established a Jewish congregation. For many years they held weekly prayer services in private homes.
When the need arose for a Jewish cemetery, the community purchased a piece of land on Wednesday, February 28, 1677.
This was the very first piece of land in the colonies which was owned by a Jewish congregation. In this cemetery are buried many of the early members of this congregation, and it is still maintained by the Jewish community today.
For more about the Newport Jewish community, see entry for the 8th of Elul.
There are three approaches to dealing with this world:
One is to remain aloof as the sun. The world will benefit from your light, but you will remain distant and removed. You will invest little in this world and so have little to lose.
Another approach is to wane and wax as the moon—to suffer the scars and bruises of life, delight in its offerings, thirst for its rewards, and tremble at its horrors—to invest everything and risk losing it all.
Or you could be both the sun and the moon at once. You could feel meaning and purpose in every episode of life, no matter how small. And, at the same time. remain above it all.
What is the secret? It is memory.
Even as you invest yourself in this world, remember you are not the body, but the soul.