LEVI, BORACH (Joseph Jean François Elie):
By: Joseph Jacobs
Convert to Christianity; born at Hagenau in 1721; son of a Jewish commissary. He went to Paris in March, 1751, to follow up a lawsuit, and while there became a convert to Christianity, and was baptized Aug. 10, 1752. He attempted to win over his wife, whom he had left behind at Hagenau, but she refused, though she was forced by the law of the time to surrender her two daughters; they were baptized ten years afterward. He endeavored to gain permission to marry again, though he refused to give a Jewish bill of divorce to his wife. He obtained from the bishops of Verdun and Metz canonical opinions that a baptized Jew might marry a Christian if his wife refuses to be converted with him, and he attempted to get the curé of his town to cry the banns for his marriage with one Anne Thaevert. The curé refused, and a long series of lawsuits ensued. The whole question of the validity of a Jewish marriage was raised, and the technical difficulty which presented itself to the canonical lawyers was the possibility of Levi's wife becoming Christian after he had married a Christian woman. Parliament refused to give him relief (Jan. 2, 1758).No more is known of him, though several legal memorials were written on the curious case.
- Isidore Loeb, in Annuaire de la Société des Etudes Juives, 1884, pp. 275-334.