Guest Blogger - Wendy Davis
First, a word from me: Wendy Davis is one of our wonderful, dedicated timeline docents and member of the Goldsmith Museum and Cultural Arts Committee. She has offered to guest blog about something that interests her on the timeline. I hope to bring you more insights from committee members (and anyone in the community who would like to have a guest spot about a museum or cultural arts issue).
I enjoy exploring the Hendler Learning Center Timeline and, as a docent, sharing what I have learned with others. There is one section of the timeline that is often overlooked as the visitor generally focuses on the highlights section that is at eye level. But if you look up, you see names of people and events that are important in secular and Jewish history. Some names are familiar and others aren’t.
One I didn’t know was EDGAR MORTARA. But in the mid 19th century his story was known, even in Baltimore, as it was unfolding. It is hard to imagine how devastated his family felt when at age 6, Edgar was taken from his Jewish home in Bologna, Italy by the Catholic Church. When his nurse reported that she had secretly baptized him despite contrary evidence, the church recognized the child as Catholic and stated that they were obligated to raise him a Christian. According to my research, this provoked wide-spread outrage from Jews and non-Jews against the papal government and it contributed in some measure to the downfall of the Papal States.
The Baltimore newspapers stated that the abduction was an “outrage against humanity…” Jews of Baltimore collectively sent a letter to the then President Buchanan asking him to intercede. Despite the protests, Edgar Mortara remained separated from his Jewish family until he was an adult. He never returned to the faith of this birth and lived his adult life as a Catholic priest.
If you would like to learn more about names and items on the timeline, or would like to research something and guest blog about it ,give Susan Vick a call. Also, timeline tours can be arranged.