Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another


Huddled Masses

As the Statue of Liberty turns 125, talking to statue-bound tourists about Emma Lazarus, the poet whose sonnet is inscribed in its base

Print Email
Visitors on their way to the Statue of Liberty. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Every day, people gather in lower Manhattan to pay tribute to an American icon. They are waiting, often for hours, for the ferry that will take them to the Statue of Liberty. While most visitors to the statue are familiar with the rousing poem displayed inside its base—“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free,” and so on—very few can name the poet who wrote it, Emma Lazarus. Even fewer know that Lazarus was a Sephardic Jew and a scholar, playwright, and novelist.

The statue was dedicated 125 years ago this month. To mark the anniversary, Nextbook Press has produced an interactive version of the Lazarus’ poem, “The New Colossus,” annotated by the Princeton English professor Esther Schor, who wrote the biography Emma Lazarus for the Nextbook Press Jewish Encounters series. In 2006, Vox Tablet host Sara Ivry went to the Statue of Liberty ferry terminal to talk to visitors about Lazarus and solicit from them a group reading of her poem. Here’s a reprise of that installment. [Running time: 4:38.] 

Print Email

Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180

Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.

Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.

We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.

Charlie in NY says:

For those interested in learning even more, beginning October 26, the Museum of Jewish Heritage in lower Manhattan will have a special exhibit on Emma Lazarus.

Bruce F says:

THANX! 2 ALL,NICE 2 MY EYES and HEARS 2 !!! bf 5

stan chz says:

It is a fitting tribute, on Lady Liberty’s 125th Anniversary, to have the hardy participants of Occupy Wall Street “standing watch” a few miles north, across the harbor. If Lady Liberty could talk, I’m sure she’d tell them: Thank You..for keeping the torch of liberty burning brightly; Thank you..for helping to renew the freedoms and ideals upon which this great country was founded. She’d be proud!

I am so glad this web thing performs and your post really helped me. Might take you up on that home assistance you


Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

Huddled Masses

As the Statue of Liberty turns 125, talking to statue-bound tourists about Emma Lazarus, the poet whose sonnet is inscribed in its base

More on Tablet:

Less Dairy, More Davening

By Avigayil Halpern — How I observe Shavuot despite my life-threatening allergy