The New Amsterdam History Center together with the Holland Society of New York presents an online event ‘The Diary of Asser Levy. First Jewish Citizen of New York‘ with author Daniela Weil in conversation with historian Noah L. Gelfand, Ph.D.
Daniela Weil will discuss her recent work of historical fiction, which introduces young readers to the real-life figure of Asser Levy, the first permanent Jewish resident of Manhattan. Levy fled persecution in Recife, Brazil, arriving in New Amsterdam in 1654, where he helped lead the fight for religious and civil rights that first gave shape to the character of modern-day New York. This dramatic story will interest educators and students, and also parents and grandparents. Read more about the story of Asser Levy here.
Author Daniela Weil
Daniela Weil was born in Brazil. She graduated from Brandeis University with a degree in Biology. In addition to writing books, Daniela Weil has worked as a scientific illustrator and has written several science and history articles for children’s magazines. In 2014, she began research on a familiar story from her home country: that Jews from Brazil had “founded” the Jewish community in New York in the 1600’s. Five years of research on several continents documented the story of the ship that carried the first group of Jewish refugees from Brazil to Manhattan, where they initiated the legal fight for religious rights.
Dr. Noah L. Gelfand
Noah L. Gelfand, Doctoral Lecturer at Hunter College, teaches courses on early United States History and Native American History. He earned his Ph.D. from New York University. Among his awards are a Quinn Foundation fellowship from the McNeil Center for Early American Studies and a Touro National Heritage Trust fellowship from the John Carter Brown Library. He is currently working on a book about the Jewish Atlantic world in the early modern era.
New Amsterdam History Center
The mission of the New Amsterdam History Center (NAHC) is to encourage exploration of the Dutch history of New Amsterdam as it laid the foundational character for today’s New York City, with special reference to its ethnic, racial, and religious diversity, urban landscapes, economic vitality, and global legacy.
NAHC fulfills its mission by linking the past to the present through public lectures and panel discussions, a biannual newsletter, tours, and online research resources all of which since 2005 have enriched public understanding of the continuing Dutch contributions to New York City.
In pursuit of its mission to disseminate information about the formative history of New York City, the New Amsterdam History Center (NAHC), with seed money from the Empire State Development Corporation and the Collegiate Church Corporation of New York, developed an extensive database or “encyclopedia” of historical references that was recently made available to the public. Based on the Castello Plan of 1660, the encyclopedia, entitled Mapping Early New York, is a treasure trove of information from detailed sources connected with map features, particularly tax lots, and provides specific information about streets, houses, residents, and more.