By Marnie Winston-Macauley

“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddl’d masses yearning to breathe free…

Statueof Liberty

Many Jews take pride in the fact that this great quote, inscribed on the Statue of Liberty, was part of the poem, “The New Colossus” by Jewess, Emma Lazarus. What many don’t know is that poor Lady Liberty, donated by France, laid around in pieces for several years awaiting funds to build the base and assemble “her.” In 1883, a charity auction was held to raise money, and though Walt Whitman and Mark Twain contributed manuscripts, the highest bid, $1,500, was received for “The New Colossus” written by the young Lazarus.

Sadly, Lazarus died at age thirty-eight, a year before she could see Lady Liberty assume her rightful place in the New York harbor in 1888. But her words were inscribed on a tablet inside the Statue in 1903. Thankfully, instead of arriving to see a broken arm here, a leg who-knows-where, immigrants were greeted with the mighty “completed stand-up” lady and her words of hope and inspiration.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

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