Jonathan Mark’s fine [job on his] piece on Judah P. Benjamin notwithstanding (“The Lost Cause, Jewishly,” July 17), it is important you correct the inaccurate historical note.
The first Jewish U.S. senator was not Benjamin but David Levy of Florida, elected as a Democrat in 1845. He served from 1845 to 1851, and then again from 1855 to 1861. Benjamin, as you correctly point out, came to the Senate in 1853.
Both resigned in 1861, wherein Benjamin joined the cabinet of President Jefferson Davis while Levy joined the Confederate Congress.
Two last interesting tidbits of historical information: both came from Sephardic families that immigrated from the Virgin Islands, and Moses Levy, the father of David Levy, was the first cousin of and business partner of Philip Benjamin, the father of Judah P. Benjamin.