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In the 21st century, it would be unthinkable for the Jews of North America to find themselves without qualified, knowledgeable, and trained rabbis. But two centuries earlier, the North American Jewish landscape was dramatically different. The entire continent was home to less than 3,000 Jews, and in the few synagogues that existed, such as those in Charleston, South Carolina; Savannah, Georgia and Newport, Rhode Island; it was the chazzanim who also performed the general religious duties that would otherwise be carried out by a rabbi.
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