Characters

Compass Rose

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.

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18-year-old Moshe Levy will be sent to the wilds of Western Canada, to work on his pioneering uncle’s ranch. This is not the Old West of John Wayne, Gary Cooper or Randolph Scott. The Canadian West of the turn of the century was peopled by Yiddish-speaking cowboys who learned Blackfoot, and Blackfoot Indians who learned Yiddish. By Chinese coolies and Scots, Poles and Eastern European immigrants of every description. Moshe will have little patience mucking out horse stalls, but he will revel in being taught to shoot by a Yiddish-speaking Blackfoot Indian horse whisperer with the unlikely name of Kipling. He will leave the ranch in Pincher Creek, Alberta and migrate to Edmonton, to become a professional bare-knuckle brawler, pickpocket and thief. It is there that he will befriend a Chinese restaurant owner, who is being beaten and robbed by a group of white rednecks, who Moshe, now calling himself Morris, will beat half to death with all the rage he felt for those who slaughtered his family back in the Old Country.

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Dovid will be sent to the mean streets of the Lower East Side of Manhattan at the turn of the century and be reborn as Davey Boy, a protégé of the Eastman Gang, which preceded the likes of Meyer Lansky, Bugsy Siegel and Lucky Luciano. He will be there not only for the birth of American organized crime, but the unholy alliance that is made between the Mob, Hollywood, Las Vegas and the top echelons of American politics. In the golden age of the Syndicate, every President, from Roosevelt through Reagan, has the way to the White House paved by the Mob. The only exception is Dwight D. Eisenhower, because he spent his whole life in the Army and they had no way in to him. It is the story of bootleggers turned Wall Street and Hollywood tycoons and the fathers of presidential dynasties. During that golden age, whether they knew it or not, almost everything every American did included a tax to the Mob. When someone put a nickel in a jukebox, they were paying a tax to the Mob. When they bought a pack of cigarettes from a vending machine, or a ladies’ undergarment, or a piece of fish that came in through the Fulton Fish Market, or anything that moved by truck… The movies they watched… The songs they listened to… The politicians they believed in and voted for… Each and every one of them had a direct connection to the Mob. And Davey Boy Levy will be there for it all. And not all the bad guys are as bad as they were made out to be, nor all the good guys as noble as they professed.

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Moscow 2

Leah will be sent to live in the lap of tsarist luxury, in St. Petersburg, with her aunt Rasa Poliakov, niece of Samuel and Lazar Poliakov, one who is the railroad magnate of Tsarist Russia, and the other the banker of the Tsar and rumored father of the prima ballerina Anna Pavlova. From that lap of luxury in which she literally played with the Tsar’s four daughters and hemophiliac son, Leah will become first disillusioned and then impassioned with Revolutionary fervor. As her uncle’s fortune collapses, at the age of fifteen, Leah will go and live with the factory workers and young revolutionaries in the Vyborg District of St. Petersburg. She will become enchanted with the bohemian revolutionary poets and painters and, on International Women’s Day, she will be thrust into the forefront of history, leading women textile workers out on strike, in contravention of Party orders. The workers on strike will swell into the hundreds of thousands, and Leah will be one of its leaders. Finally, the army will go over to the side of the workers, and one particularly dashing young officer will fall in love with the beautiful, teenaged revolutionary. And the Tsar will be toppled, ending four hundred years of Romanoff rule. As one of the leaders of the Women’s Movement, Leah will be a rising star in the Bolshevik Party. She and her young husband, the former Tsarist cavalry officer, will overthrow the Kerensky government and create the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics under the leadership of Vladimir Lenin. These will be heady days, when these teenaged lovers and revolutionaries believe they are literally bringing about the worker’s paradise.

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Pinchas will be sent with his brother-in-law to Jerusalem, under the Ottoman rule, in 1906. He will chafe at being a Yeshivah student and, instead, will become the apprentice to Itamar Ben-Yehuda, the first native-speaking Hebrew child in 2,000 years. When he meets Itamar, the latter will be a dashing 26-year-old editor of the first daily Hebrew newspaper in history. Itamar’s father will literally have taken what was a dead language and, in less than two decades, re-created it into a modern language with poets, Nobel Prize-winning authors, pickpockets, streetwalkers, fishmongers… And one of the most incredible love stories in the history of Jerusalem. Pinchas will be the go-between between 26-year-old Itamar Ben-Yehuda and the sixteen-year-old beauty, Leah Abusheddid. In those days, the Sephardic Jews of Jerusalem – those from Morocco, Yemen, Babylon and Turkey – were the wealthy upper and educated classes. The Ashkenazim, the poor Jews from Eastern Europe, were looked down upon by the Sepharadim. The city of Jerusalem at that time was, contrary to popular opinion, a primarily Jewish city, where Jews and Arabs coexisted in relative harmony. In the Jerusalem of the turn of the century, it was the Christian factions who were at war with each other, though war is too harsh of a word. The conflict manifested itself in fistfights and insults. Itamar Ben-Yehuda was not only in love with the sixteen-year-old beauty, but wanted to marry her. The girl’s mother adamantly refuses. Pinchas urges Itamar to use the weapon at his disposal, to win his lady love; namely, his newspaper. With Pinchas’ encouragement, Itamar will publish a love poem, with banner headlines, every day, as well as editorials about the cruel family keeping the young lovers apart. Jerusalem will be divided not between Arab and Jew, but between those supporting the young lovers and those supporting the mother. Riots will literally break out in the markets of the Old City, as this modern-day Romeo and Juliet plays out. Finally, the six great religious leaders of Jerusalem - the Greek Orthodox and Latin Patriarchs, the Anglican Bishop, the Muslim Imam and the Sephardic and Ashkenazi Chief Rabbis, will come to the mother and tell her she must end her refusal and accept the betrothal, for the peace of the city. On the day when Itamar Ben-Yehuda and Leah Abusheddid are married, all the church bells in Jerusalem will ring in triumph.

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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.