Russia

  • The protagonists of our story are four siblings who survive a vicious pogram loosing everything and everyone they love and then are scattered to the four corners of the earth. Their Jewish roots and the ethics they were raised with help them make a difference in the rapidly changing world of the 20th century.

  • On the day of the wedding of Meyer Levy’s beautiful daughter, Sarah, a pogrom will take place, in which scores of Jews will be bludgeoned and hacked to death, their women raped, their babies’ brains dashed out. Of Meyer’s ten children, six will be killed, along with his first grandchild and his wife. As he lays dying, he will make arrangements for his four remaining children. They will be scattered to the four corners of the earth, each of them charged by Reb Meyer with his vision of the mission of the Jew: to spread love where there is hatred, and light where there is darkness. “If we were chosen for anything at all,” he says, “it is for that.”

    The journey to fulfill that mission will be a long and tortuous one, for each of his four remaining children. And, through their eyes, we will see one of the most tumultuous eras in human history. They will be not only witnesses to history but makers of it. Through their eyes, we will tell the story of the 20th century; its hope, its despair, its barbarism, its nobility… On four different continents… Through love and war, intrigue, idealism turned into a nightmare, and nightmare reborn into hope and courage.

    We will see the noblest of intentions metamorphose into inhumanity on a scale never before imagined. We will see the rise and fall of what was to be the paradise of workers. Empires that would last a thousand years. The democratic end of feudal dynasties dissolved into civil war. We will see a language and a land and, indeed, a people pronounced dead a thousand times over, become the living embodiment of the vision of the Valley of Dry Bones coming back to life, only to be enmeshed in the struggle of two peoples for one small plot of land which has the curse of being deemed holy by three religions; holy enough to live for… Holy enough to die for… Holy enough to kill for; blessing and curse. Heaven and Hell on earth. Darkness pierced by the light. And, in the midst of age-old hatreds, the undying hope of love, played out on a worldwide stage, soaked in blood, bathed in glory, inflamed by passion, debased by power and ennobled by the spark of the divine carried in the DNA of the human spirit.

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    The City of 72 Names covers almost one hundred years of world conflict, technological developments, art and cultural fluorescence and sadly, continuing anti-Semitism. We see a lot of this through the eyes of Moishe, Pinchas, Dovid and Leah Levy but without context, it is difficult to understand how strongly Jews impacted the strong desire of people all over the world to live their lives freely. Judaism teaches a concept called tikkun olam or "repairing the world." Our protagonists were not religious Jews. They were children and young adults when thrust into the world outside of their home and had only the rudiments of Jewish education but they instinctively knew from their parents the need to survive and more than that try to make the world a better place. Even Davey Boy, the American mobster, ends up doing good in his own way.

    So, what was happening in the world during the lives of the Levy siblings? Turmoil, conflict, ethnic cleansing, nationalism, war, brilliant intellectual developments, unbelievable advancements in living standards, abject poverty, famine, disease, the passing of old regimes and the rising of new ones; and change, constant change.

  • Although the following story is a work of fiction, the major events are drawn from the pages of history, with the principal characters interacting with both the unknown, the forgotten, and the enshrined figures who shaped the world we live in today.

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Moshe "Morris" Levy

Bodyguard and General to Chinese Nationalist Army

Two-Gun Levy was a real person named Morris Cohen and given the nickname "2-Gun" because he always carried two guns. He protected both Dr. Sun Yat-Sen and Chiang Kai-Shek from 1911 until his death in the 1950s.

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Pinchas Levy

Poet and Warrior

Pinchas Levy participated in a love battle that became the talk of Ottoman Palestine. He fought with the Jewish Legion in WWI and then settled down at one of the first Kibbutzim.

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Dovid "Davey Boy" Levy

Head of the Freedman Gang and Mobster

David Levy joined one of the lower East side New York City gangs and eventually became head of one of the most notorious mobs in the US.

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Leah Levy

Bolshevik revolutionary

Leah Levy was a member of the wealthy and influential Polyakov family who became disillusioned and radicalized. She joined the Bolsheviks and through much suffering remained a member of the Communist party until her death in the late 1950s.