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Exhibition Rare Book Library Collection Restoration Project
LOUIS N. LEVY LADINO AND
RARE BOOK LIBRARY COLLECTION RESTORATION PROJECT

Louis N. Levy Ladino and Rare Book Library Collection Restoration ProjectLouis N. Levy was born on April 23, 1918 on the Lower East Side of New York City
, the son of Yeuda Levy of Chorlu, Turkey and Regina Calderon of Monastir in the Balkans. Growing up on the Lower East Side, Levy was nurtured in the world of Sephardim and Ladino. Frequenting the coffee houses so popular among the new immigrants, Levy learned to speak Ladino while reading the Judeo-Spanish weekly newspaper La Vara. Young Louis attended Talmud Torah and synagogue at the Berith Shalom-Sephardic Jewish Center (Centro Judio Sephardi) that was established by the Congregation Shearith Israel Sisterhood to serve the Sephardim in the area.

As an adult, Louis Levy became acquainted with many of the Sephardi leaders of the time, including Rabbi Joseph de Abraham Benyunes, Albert J. Torres, David N. Barocas, and Rabbi David de Sola Pool of Congregation Shearith Israel. He served in the U.S. Army during the Second World War, and when he returned home he became active in efforts to unify the Sephardic community, joining with such figures as Rabbis Nesim Ovadia and Isaac Alkalay, as well as other notables like Joseph Papo and Mair Jose Benardette.

Though efforts to maintain the community as an independent entity failed, Levy was able to work with and promote a number of its component parts. Thus he became the treasurer for the Sephardic Home for the Aged, in Brooklyn, and joined with David N. Barocas in creating the "Foundation for the Advancement of Sephardic Studies and Culture" to publish works on Sephardic history and culture. He further supported a number of Sephardic organizations, including "The World Sephardi Federation," Yeshiva University's Sephardic Studies Program, "The World Organization for Jews of Arab Countries," "The Sephardic Educational Center," "The Sephardic Brotherhood of America," and "Peace and Brotherhood of Monastir." He was also a strong advocate supporting Sephardic students and scholarship through "The Broome and Allen Boys Association" (now a scholarship fund for Sephardic studies under the auspices of the American Sephardi Federation). He further promoted scholarship by encouraging Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan and David N. Barocas to translate and to publish in English the great Ladino Commentary on the Bible known as Me'Am Lo'ez.

At the same time as he was doing all of these other things, Levy worked to build the stunning Ladino and Rare Book Library, a small portion of which you see displayed here. This gift was given to the American Sephardi Federation.


This American Sephardi Federation with Sephardic House
Conservation Project was made possible by the
National Foundation for Jewish Culture

During the latter half of 2004, a conservation project was carried out on a small collection of books from the Louis N. Levy Ladino and Rare Book Library Collection. This project was made possible as a result of a grant from the National Foundation for Jewish Culture. Thanks to this grant, ASF was able to employ the services of conservation expert, Jeffrey S. Peachey, PA-AIC, who performed 165 hours of treatment on 12 books in the American Sephardi Federation collection that were in serious need of conservation treatment. The treatments were performed on site at the Preservation Lab of the Center for Jewish History.


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LOUIS N. LEVY LADINO
LOUIS N. LEVY LADINO
 
LOUIS N. LEVY Rare Book Collection
LOUIS N. LEVY Rare Book Collection
   
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