Nikki Fried today will became Florida's first Jewish woman to join Florida's Cabinet, and she will be sworn in using the University of Florida's copy of the first Hebrew Bible published in the United States.

Master printer Thomas Dobson published the two-volume edition published in 1814 in Philadelphia, using text prepared by Jonathan Horowitz, a Jewish printer who had recently arrived to America from Amsterdam. It was based on a famous Hebrew Bible produced in 1661 by the Jewish printer, Joseph b. Abraham Athias.

"As the first Jewish woman elected statewide in Florida and an unapologetic Florida Gator I could not be more honored to be sworn in with the first Hebrew Bible printed in the United States from University of Florida's Judaica Library," said said Fried, the Commissioner-Elect of Agriculture & Consumer Services. "The symbolism of these firsts represent some of the greatest honors of my life."

Nikki Fried, a lawyer from South Florida, speaks to the camera in a video announcing her campaign for Agriculture Commissioner. | YouTube screen capture
Nikki Fried, a lawyer from South Florida, speaks to the camera in a video announcing her campaign for Agriculture Commissioner. | YouTube screen capture

Horowitz had brought a Hebrew font with him to America, and he had set about getting subscribers in order to print his Bible. He faced a number of Christian competitors, mainly missionaries, moving fast to print the first Hebrew Bible.

Horowitz decided that the way to beat the competition was to sell his type to the Philadelphia printer, William fry and his subscription lists to the bookseller Thomas Dobson, who also published first American version of the Encyclopedia Britannica.