Selina Levi & Iowa Jewry

December 10, 1855: Birthdate of Mrs. James (Selina) Levi. The Dubuque native was the daughter of the founder of Iowa Jewry and at one time held the record for being the oldest Jewish woman born in the Hawkeye State.

Selina’s father, Alexander Levi (pronounced lee-vee), a French Jew of Spanish descent, immigrated to the United States and arrived in Iowa in 1833. Levi’s story parallels that of many immigrant entrepreneurs who worked hard, then took leading roles as philanthropists in their communities. Among his many accomplishments, Levi was the first Iowa immigrant to become a naturalized citizen of the United States.

Dubuque, Iowa has one synagogue, Temple Beth-El, a member of the Union of Reform Judaism.

Shown nearby is United States Scott No. 569 – a postage stamp featuring the American Buffalo, issued in 1923 and marked with a Dubuque local precancel.

dubuque iowa precancel us stamp

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