About Asser Levy van Swellem
Loeb Scwelm, died 1632 Frankurt, son of David Schelm
1) Asser Loeb Schwelm, birth Frankfurt, died 1682 New York
Asser Levy [Van Swellem] moved to Amsterdam and moved to Brazil in 1642
Please also read the About at Asser Levy
The extract below is from an article by Maurits Prins, which is currently available online at thefreelibrary.com. The article was originally published in Judaism: A Quarterly Journal of Jewish Life and Thought, Sep 22, 1992. The article is based on research undertaken by the former Dutch Historian and Doctor of Law, Izak Prins, who died in Israel in the late 1960s. He was the co-founder of the Netherlands Society for the Science of Judaism, and an authority on Marrano history. It took him many years to complete his research on all aspects of the subject. Shortly after his death, the entire manuscript was placed in the custody of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Only lately has the whole manuscript been photo-copied and bound in two volumes, which have been handed to some members of the family of Maurits Prins. For the original document see the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.
A catalogue of the works of Izak Prins is available online at http://sites.huji.ac.il/cahjp/RP087%20Prins.pdf
The Geni profile for Izak Prins is at
Elchanan Schwelm's grandson, Lob (d. 1632), had a son, named Asscher, born in Frankfurt on Main, who also moved to Amsterdam in his early youth, where he "Dutchified" his name from Asscher Ben Lob (= Levy) Schwelm to Asser Levy van Swellem. His family in Frankfurt were well-to-do merchants at the time, and Asser did equally well in Amsterdam - so much so, that he was soon able to purchase the so-called Poortersbrief which made him a registered burgher of the city.
The early seventeenth century was the period of the young Dutch Republic's Golden Age, and Amsterdam was perhaps the most important trading center in the world. It could thus be expected that from Amsterdam the recently established Portuguese Sephardic Community would strengthen business ties with their kinsmen in the colony in Brazil, which the Dutch had conquered from the Portuguese in 1625, and in which many Marrano families settled after the forced mass conversion of Jews in Portugal in 1497. Quite a number of them became owners of prosperous sugar plantations, while others became exporters of Brazilian timber.
Due to the tolerant Dutch attitude towards freedom of worship, the greater part of the settled Marrano families chose to revert to an open Jewish life-style and, assisted by the Amsterdam Sephardic Congregation, established their Congregation in the newly acquired Dutch colony, the Kahal Kadosh (Holy Congregation) Zur Yisroel in Recife, where a synagogue was already in use by the year 1636. It immediately became a thriving community, able to attract a spiritual leader in the person of the famous Rabbi Isaac Aboab da Fonseca from Amsterdam. He became their "Hakham" (Sephardic Rabbi) in the year 1642, and is thus considered to be the first officiating Rabbi in the Americas.