Asser Levy

d. 1682

Levy was an Ashkenazi Jew who arrived in Amsterdam in 1654, weeks before Sephardic Jews arrived from Brazil. He was a "sworn butcher" and was also involved in trade.

Episodes from the life of Asser Levy appear in the records of both the NYC Municipal Archives and the City of Amsterdam Archives. A selection of episodes is excerpted below.

As you read about Asser Levy, consider the following questions, then post your reactions in the comments on our blog:

  1. Levy, like most residents of New Amsterdam, is involved in a variety of cases before the Court of Burgomasters and Schepens.  How would you describe Levy’s involvement in these different cases?  
  2. What do these cases tell us about Asser Levy’s early business activities?
  3. Compare Levy’s voluntary contribution of October 1655 to his pledge in February 1664. To what extent can these records be used to evaluate Levy’s success during his first decade in New Amsterdam?