Haven of Liberty

New York Jews in the New World, 1654-1865

368 pages

January, 2015

ISBN: 9781479803514



Also available in


HistoryHistoryJewish Studies

Part of the City of Promises series


Howard B. Rock is a Professor of History Emeritus at Florida International University. He is winner of the 2012  Everett Family Foundation Jewish Book of the Year Award, National Jewish Book Council and the 2012 Runner-Up for the Dixon Ryan Manuscript Award presented by the New York Historical Association for Haven of Liberty: New York Jews in the New World, 1654-1865. He is also the author or editor of five other books, including Cityscapes: A History of New York in Images, written with Deborah Dash Moore. 

All books by Howard B. Rock

Haven of Liberty chronicles the arrival of the first Jews to New York in 1654 and highlights the role of republicanism in shaping their identity and institutions. Rock follows the Jews of NewYork through the Dutch and British colonial eras, the American Revolution and early republic, and the antebellum years, ending with a path-breaking account of their outlook and behavior during the Civil War. Overcoming significant barriers, these courageous men and women laid the foundations for one of the world’s foremost Jewish cities.


  • "This bold, well-researched and beautifully-illustrated history of New York's Jews (1654-1865) introduces the theme of republicanism into American Jewish history, and properly contextualizes Jews within the larger history of the metropolis. A remarkable accomplishment, Haven of Liberty will stand for years to come as the definitive history of New York City's early Jewish community."

    —Jonathan D. Sarna, Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History, Brandeis University

  • "Covers its chronological sweep so smoothly that readers may not immediately realize how many cultures, times, and decades they have crossed in 250 pages. . . . Deftly integrates biographical sketches into a larger cultural and political account and provides a human dimension exploring differences between the colonial Jewish community and the already varied communities of the early national and antebellum eras."

    —Jon Butler, The American Jewish Archives Journal

  • "[…] Haven of Liberty is an expertly researched book written in fluid and engaging prose.  It also includes a stunning visual essay by Diana L. Linden on the material culture of the city’s early Jewish community with thirty-two images.  Rock’s book is highly recommended reading, not just for students of modern Jewish history, but for all scholars interested in religion’s role in the development of American culture.”

    Journal of the Early Republic