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Jonathan D. Sarna

Jonathan D. Sarna is the Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History at Brandeis University and chief historian of the National Museum of American Jewish History. His most recent book is When General Grant Expelled the Jews (Nextbook/Schocken).

President Grant and the Chabadnik

Jonathan D. Sarna

In 1869, President Grant received an unexpected visitor at the White House: Haim Zvi Sneersohn, a flamboyant and eccentric Chabad emmisary from Jerusalem. Bedecked in what The New York Times described as an "Oriental costume" consisting of a "rich robe of silk, a white damask surplice, a fez, and a splendid Persian shawl fastened about his waist," he strode self-confidently toward the president. Grant instinctively rose to greet him.