New York in New York County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Asser Levy’s Home
Birth of a City: Nieuw Amsterdam & Old New York
ASSER LEVY’S HOME
Location: Stone Street at Mill Lane
Dutch Name: Hoogh Straet (High Street)
In a house on this site lived the Jewish trader and butcher Asser Levy. Possibly born in Lithuania, Levy probably came here from Amsterdam in 1654, the same year 23 other Jews fleeing Portuguese persecution arrived from Brazil. Director-General Stuyvesant and the town’s Dutch clergy wanted to expel them from the colony. But the Dutch West India Company insisted that Stuyvesant let the Jews stay, and allow them to worship privately. They held Sabbath services in their homes, signaling the start of the Jewish communal life in North America.
Levy petitioned to serve in the militia which patrolled the town. Once again, Company officials in the Dutch Republic affirmed his right to be treated equally. Levy took part alongside his Christian neighbors. He remained a townsman and landowner after the English conquest of 1664.
Shearith Israel, the Jewish congregation founded by early colonists, built its first synagogue on the site of 20-24 South William Street in 1730. This Jewish community marked the beginnings of New York’s role as home to the world’s emigrants seeking freedom from oppression.
Erected 2009 by City Lore & NY 400.
Location. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: New York NY 10004, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. 13 South William Street (within shouting distance of this marker); Stone Street Historic District and Colonial New York Street Plan (within shouting distance of this marker); First Printing Press in the Colony of New York (within shouting distance of this marker); Dutch Hoog Straat (within shouting distance of this marker); Vietnam War Veterans Memorial / Dutch City Hall Site (within shouting distance of this marker); Delmonico's Building (within shouting distance of this marker); India House / British Memorial Garden in Hanover Square (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Stadt Huys (City Hall) (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New York.
More about this marker. A picture at the top of the marker depicts “Rabbi Isaac Aboab da Fonseca [who] was a spiritual leader to the Jewish community in the Dutch colony of Pernambuco in Brazil. When the Portuguese conquered Pernambuco in 1654, Fonseca returned to Amsterdam, while 23
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Learn about New York City’s colonial Dutch heritage by taking a virtual tour of the Nieuw Amsterdam Trail though lower Manhattan.
Also see . . . City Lore website. City Lore's mission is to foster New York's - and America's - living cultural heritage. (Submitted on November 5, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
Categories. • Colonial Era •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 5, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 804 times since then and 22 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on November 5, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.