Rabbi To Say Kaddish For Jews Who Saved Thomas Jefferson’s Estate

    Meir Soloveichik, a prominent New York Orthodox rabbi, will recite the Jewish prayer for the dead at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, honoring the Jews who lived there and restored the property after the third president’s death.

    Uriah Levy, a Jewish patriot and Navy admiral, purchased the Virginia mansion from Jefferson’s debt-ridden heirs and set about refurbishing it.

    His nephew Jefferson Levy, later in life a New York congressman, held onto the property into the next century, when he sold it to a foundation dedicated to maintaining the house for the public. Rachel Levy, Uriah’s mother, is buried on the property.

    Soloveichik is senior rabbi at Temple Shearith Israel, one of the oldest New York synagogues and a house of worship that many of the Levys once attended.

    Writing in the Wall Street Journal last Thursday, he said that he would bring along members of the congregation and students at Yeshiva University to say Kaddish for Rachel Levy.

    “It will mark one of the very few times the prayer has been recited at Monticello since her burial almost two centuries ago… [W]e will honor the extraordinary history of the Jewish people — and of America,” he wrote in his op-ed.

    Contact Daniel J. Solomon at solomon@forward.com or on Twitter @DanielJSolomon

    Rabbi Says Kaddish For Jews Of Jefferson’s Monticello

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