Courtesy of American Jewish Historical Society
Uriah Phillips Levy was born in Philadelphia and began his naval career at the age of 14. Although well acquainted during his long career with antisemitism, which contributed to his six courts-martial, Levy went on to become the first Jewish commodore of the United States Navy. During his tenure, he ended the Navy's practice of flogging as punishment, which he had long opposed. Levy is also known for his purchase and restoration of Thomas Jefferson's estate, Monticello, near Charlottesville, Virginia. He was the first president of the Washington Hebrew Congregation in DC, and in 1854 he sponsored the new seminary of the B'nai Jeshurun Educational Institute in New York.