Freedom for Philadelphia’s Jews
In 1740, Governor Thomas Penn, son and heir of William Penn, granted Philadelphia merchant Nathan Levy, an observant Jew, rights to a burial ground for his infant child. Levy desired to lay the child to rest with Jewish rites. The existence of a Jewish cemetery at 831 Spruce Street marks the establishment of Congregation Mikveh Israel. Penn’s Charter of Privileges (1701) protected the conscience and religious practice of any person who confessed and acknowledged “one almighty God, the creator, upholder and ruler of the world”. Jewish believers were no exception.
Discover Philadelphia’s hidden history and how faith has guided liberty toward justice with our curated ecosystem of trails that explore the city’s must-see sites!