The exhibit tells the story of Alexander Levi, a French Jew of Spanish descent. The exhibit follows Levi’s immigration to the United States and arrival in Iowa in 1833, the same year Dubuque was founded. His story parallels those of many immigrant entrepreneurs of different nationalities who made good and took leading roles as philanthropists in their communities.
He began his career as a fur trader, created a grocery business and became a successful miner. In 1847, he opened what would become one of the most successful retail stores of his time and became a leader of Dubuque’s Jewish community, founding the first two Jewish congregations in Dubuque and purchasing land for a Jewish cemetery.
The exhibit expands on Levi’s story and connects the Jewish community’s continuous contributions to Dubuque’s 175-year history. The exhibit also asks questions that encourage visitors to learn about and record their own family histories.
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