Skip to main content

Levy, Jonas Phillips


LEVY, JONAS PHILLIPS (1807–1883), U.S. naval officer and communal leader. Levy, the brother of Uriah Phillips *Levy and the father of Jefferson Monroe *Levy, was born in Philadelphia. He took up a career in the U.S. Navy, reaching the rank of commander. Unlike his brother Uriah, he seems to have adapted well to naval life and encountered no recorded antisemitism. In 1847 he was commander of the steamer America, ferrying troops to and participating in the naval battle for Veracruz during the Mexican War. He was appointed captain of the captured city. Levy was active in Jewish life. His greatest contribution to progress in equal rights for Jews was in his work to rectify the disabilities imposed on Jews in Switzerland. When news of the U.S.-Swiss treaty drawn up in 1850 reached American Jews, Levy led the struggle to alter the treaty, writing letters and working with his friend, Senator Lewis Cass, to delete the provision disallowing equal rights of travel and settlement to Jewish nationals and non-nationals in Switzerland. When Levy moved to Washington, d.c., in 1852, there were about 25 Jewish men in the city, meeting haphazardly for services. Levy supported the movement for a permanent synagogue. Discovering that the local laws were ambiguous on the rights of Jews so to organize, Levy called on his political friends, and in 1855 an act of Congress gave full rights to the Washington Hebrew Congregation and other congregations to organize.


H.K. Meier, United States and Switzerland in the Nineteenth Century (1963), 33–38, 58–66; C. Adler, Jews in the Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States (1906); C. Adler and A.M. Margalith, With Firmness in the Right: American Diplomatic Action Affecting Jews, 18401945 (1946); S. Stroock, in: ajhsp, 11 (1903), 7–11.

[Abram Kanof]

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Levy, Jonas Phillips." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . 17 Mar. 2019 <>.

"Levy, Jonas Phillips." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . (March 17, 2019).

"Levy, Jonas Phillips." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Retrieved March 17, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.