Mikveh Israel Cemetery
Nathan Levy, an early Jewish Philadelphian, began the cemetery as a family plot. A merchant, Levy helped open the “western” trade through Lancaster to western Pennsylvania. On his ship, the Myrtilla, the Liberty Bell came to Philadelphia from England. Upon his death, he was buried here, and his family later transferred the cemetery to Congregation Mikveh Israel.
Beginning in 1740, worship services were held at Nathan Levy’s home. In 1771 this congregation took the name Mikveh Israel and struggled to build a small synagogue on Cherry Street to accommodate the City’s growing Jewish community. Their numbers were swelled by many Jews who left British-occupied New York, Savannah, and Charleston. Among the founders of Mikveh Israel were Michael and Bernard Gratz, Philadelphia merchants. They both signed the American protest to the Stamp Act of 1765, were early Revolutionary sympathizers, and were important suppliers of the Continental Army. Both Michael and Bernard Gratz are interred here
Here in an unidentified grave lie the remains of Haym Salomon. As an associate of Robert Morris, Salomon used his skills in languages and finance to maintain the credit of the revolutionary government. As a tribute to this man and his Congregation, who did so much to ensure the victory for the American colonies, Congress in 1956 declared the cemetery a national shrine.
Rebecca Gratz is also buried here. She is best known as the model for the character Rebecca in Sir Walter Scott’s novel Ivanhoe. The cemetery no longer serves the Congregation as a burial ground.
Location. 39° 56.754′ N, 75° 9.342′ W. Marker is in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia County. Marker is on Spruce Street between Schell and Darien Sts.. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Philadelphia PA 19107, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named Mikveh Israel Cemetery (here, next to this marker); Joseph Bonaparte (within shouting distance of this marker); First Republican National Convention (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Sarah Josepha Hale (about 500 feet away); Pennsylvania Hospital (about 600 feet away); The Spruce Street Houses (about 600 feet away); Reynolds-Morris House (about 600 feet away); Nicholas Biddle (about 700 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Philadelphia.
Categories. • Cemeteries & Burial Sites • Colonial Era • Patriots & Patriotism • War, US Revolutionary •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on March 27, 2015, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 189 times since then and 20 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on March 27, 2015, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.