Before New York became the de facto capital of the American Jewish community, there was Philadelphia.

Jewish merchants traded in the region before the American Revolution, indeed before even the arrival of William Penn. City residents founded the young nation’s first Jewish publication association, benevolent society, Sunday school, and rabbinical college.

So, five years ago, when filmmaker Sam Katz was beginning a documentary series about Philadelphia from the 1600s into the 1900s, he decided to chronicle the history of faith groups in the first capital of a nation founded as a haven of religious freedom.

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