Rebecca Gratz, by Thomas Sully, 1831.
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Oil on panel portrait of Rebecca Gratz, showing part of her torso and face, displays her as a rosy-cheeked woman in elaborately-adorned, early-nineteenth-century finery.

Credit: Courtesy of Rosenbach Museum and Library, Philadelphia

One of the most prominent Jewish American women of her era, Philadelphia's Rebecca Gratz (1781- 1869) devoted her life to philanthropic works and was a founder of the Philadelphia Orphan Society and the Hebrew Sunday School Society. To provide Jewish children a solid understanding of their faith, Gratz had the Sunday School Society use Isaac Leeser’s easy to read “Catechism For Jewish Children” rather than have students repeat translations of Hebrew text. Thomas Sully painted this portrait of Gratz in 1831 when she was 50 years old.

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