Skip to comments.Oldest land-based Jewish Navy chapel rededicated
Posted on 12/13/2009 5:32:20 PM PST by csvset
Commodore Uriah P. Levy
He left home when he was 10, running away to become a cabin boy, and eventually became the first Jewish commodore in the Navy, the highest rank available at the time.
On Sunday, the Jewish chapel at Naval Station Norfolk the oldest land-based Jewish chapel in the Navy was rededicated to Commodore Uriah P. Levy, 50 years to the day after it was first named after him.
Born in Philadelphia in 1792, Levy had a career that spanned pirate-chasing to authorship he wrote A Manual of Internal Rules and Regulations for Men-of-War. It also included 16 months in a British prison during the War of 1812, when his ship was captured, and a successful push for abolition of flogging as punishment in the Navy.
Despite his successes, Levy was court-martialed several times over fights with fellow officers, procedures tinged with questions of anti-semitism, said Rabbi Jonathan Panitz, a former base chaplain.
The Chapel itself opened in 1942, but it was through campaigning by the Navy and the local Jewish community that it was named after Levy in 1959.
Since then, its been a focal point for Jewish life on base, a source of community and comradery, Panitz said. When he and his wife first moved to Norfolk, he said they hadnt even finished unpacking when Chaplain Samuel Sobel invited them over for dinner. Sobel, the only Chaplain to have served twice at the Levy Chapel and who was instrumental in its naming, was also being honored Sunday.
The Chapel has served as a lighthouse for the Jewish Naval community, said Michael Panitz, Rabbi at Temple Israel in Norfolk and Jonathan Panitzs brother.
Everyone whos done blue water time knows what its like to see the lighthouse after a long period at sea, he said.
Alicia Wittmeyer, (757) 222-5216, email@example.com 
Is this the same guy who bought Monticello from the Jefferson estate? Is so he is probably most responsible for preserving it.
That’s the man.
Yes, it is. I did not know that.
I was at Monticello back in the spring and the materials an tour guide mentioned a Commodore Levy buying the estate basically inspired by Jefferson’s vision of religious tolerance.
Great story. Thanks for the post.
If youd like to be on or off, please FR mail me.
Yes, that's the same Commodore Levy for whom the Chapel in Norfolk is named. He was among the most prominent Jewish Americans of the early nineteenth century and his story appears in just about all histories of Jews in the United States.
So, nu? Keep an even strain on the springline and notify the bridge before keelhauling the heretics. Although some clearly deserve it, others, including my lady wife, clearly do not!
Ninety miles away from the Norfolk Chapel is the only Jewish military cemetary outside of Israel, in Richmond.
“Mutineers will be circumcized.”
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It surely does!
“No no...flogging, please!”