Moses Levy

Name: Moses Levy 5/17/1888-10/21/1953

Family: Wives, Rose Satterfield and Susie. Children, David, Edward and Sally.

Moses had a penchant for getting into trouble. As reported in a 1908 newspaper report, he was arrested for shooting craps and then got into a fight with a lawyer named Benjamin Lovenstein. Lovenstein's mother-in-law, Dora Greenberg, threw a banana at Levy, and he then leveled an assault charge at her.

In 1926, during the Prohibition, his store and home on Fayetteville Street were raided and he was arrested for having 48 gallons of corn liquor. He was supported by four defense lawyers, one of whom was the lieutenant governor of North Carolina. After two mistrials, a guilty verdict during a third trial, he won his freedom at the fourth trial when a defense lawyer suggested Levy kept the 48 gallons for a "Hebrew celebration." As Jewish historian Leonard Rogoff notes, "sacramental spirits were exempt from prohibition."

Four years later, Levy was again arrested with less happy results when he was caught masterminding a cigarette hijacking ring with several black colleagues.

According to Jewish historian Leonard Rogoff, Levy was always good for a game of cards in the rear of his grocery store. At one point, he attempted to sell ground meat of feline rather than bovine origin.

But his luck came to an end in 1940 when he was indicted on a bad check charge and given an unusually harsh jail sentence of three years by a judge widely regarded as anti-Semitic. The Durham rabbi went to court to plead for leniency but the judge treated the rabbi with contempt.

In his later years he was incapacitated by a stroke.