CRESSON, WARDER

CRESSON, WARDER (1798–1860), U.S. religious zealot, convert to Judaism, and visionary Zionist. Cresson, born into an old Philadelphia Quaker family, became successively a Shaker, a Mormon, a Millerite, and a Campbellite, while earning a living   as a farmer outside Philadelphia. After associating with isaac leeser for several years, Cresson determined in 1844 to visit the Holy Land. He received an honorary appointment as American consul at Jerusalem, but a protest by Samuel D. Ingham, a former secretary of treasury, who believed that Cresson had been "laboring under an aberration of the mind for many years," and that "his mania is of the religious species," resulted in the appointment being withdrawn. By then, however, Cresson had left for Palestine, and for a time believed that he was representing the American government. Four years of residence in Jerusalem persuaded him that he could find spiritual truth in Judaism; despite the discouragement of the chief rabbi of Jerusalem and of the bet din, he was circumcised and converted in 1848. Returning to Philadelphia to settle his affairs, Cresson was declared insane by a jury at the instigation of his wife and son, who felt that his conversion was an indication of mental imbalance. He appealed the decision and received a new trial, and in 1851 was found by the jury to be sane. They ruled that Judaism was a legitimate religion and that Cresson was not insane in converting. The Philadelphia Public Ledger commented that the case "settled forever … the principle that a man's religious opinions never can be made a test of his sanity." While in Philadelphia, he lived as an observant Jew and prayed at Mikveh Israel. Before returning to Palestine in 1852 as Michael Boaz, Israel ben-Abraham, he published a polemical volume entitled Key of David, David the True Messiah (1851). Back in Jerusalem, Cresson undertook propaganda campaigns against Christian missionary groups and on behalf of agricultural colonization of Jews in Palestine. He remained in contact with Leeser, who published many of his communications in his journal The Occident. Cresson lived in Jerusalem as a Sephardi and married a Sephardi wife, Rachel Moledano. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Friedewald, in: Jewish Comment (Baltimore), 12 (Nov. 30, 1900), 1–2; Karp, in: American Jewish Historical Society, Early History of Zionism in America (1958), 1–20. Add. Bibliography: H. Obenzinger, American Palestine: Melville, Twain and the Holy Land Mania (1999). (Bertram Wallace Korn / Michael Berenbaum (2nd ed.)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Cresson, Warder (Israel, Michael Boaz) — (1798 1860)    American religious zealot and Zionist. He was born in Philadelphia and emigrated to Palestine, where he converted to Judaism. On his return to the US he was declared insane by a court, but successfully appealed against the decision …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • Warder Cresson — or as he was known with his Jewish name Michoel Boaz Yisroel ben Avraham (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 13, 1798 Jerusalem Nov. 6, 1860) was a religious enthusiast, and convert to Judaism. He was directly descended from Pierre Cresson, one of… …   Wikipedia

  • Cresson — may refer to: Places Battle of Cresson, a small battle fought on May 1, 1187 in what now is Israel, near Nazareth Cresson, Pennsylvania, a United States borough Cressona, Pennsylvania, a United States borough Cresson Township, Pennsylvania, a U.S …   Wikipedia

  • Liste de zoologistes — Attention, il n est pas d usage en zoologie d utiliser d abréviation pour les noms des auteurs (contrairement aux usages de la botanique, voir ici). Cette liste ne constitue pas une liste officielle. Nous attirons l attention du lecteur sur son… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • List of Quakers — This is a list of notable people associated with the Religious Society of Friends, also known as Quakers.The first part consists of individuals who are known to be or to have been Quakers continually from some point in their lives onward. The… …   Wikipedia

  • PROSELYTES — There is ample evidence of a widespread conversion to Judaism during the period of the Second Temple, especially the latter part of the period, and the word ger, which in biblical times meant a stranger, or an alien, became synonymous with a… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • List of Huguenots — Some notable Huguenots or people with Huguenot ancestry include:*Jacques Abbadie, French theologian *Moses Amyraut, French theologian, proponent of Amyraldism *Charles Ancillon, French jurist and diplomat *John André, British officer and spy… …   Wikipedia

  • Clorinda S. Minor — (1806–1855) was an American woman from Philadelphia who became influenced by William Miller. When his prophecy failed to materialize she decided to set sail for Palestine. She first traveled to Palestine in May 1849 and came to support the… …   Wikipedia

  • Zionists — • Followers of the movement to segregate the Jewish people as a nation Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Zionists     Zionists     † …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • JERUSALEM — The entry is arranged according to the following outline: history name protohistory the bronze age david and first temple period second temple period the roman period byzantine jerusalem arab period crusader period mamluk period …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.