The TWenty-Three Who Formed The World's Greatest Jewish
I I V
By SAMUEL J. CITRON
Cast of Characters:
Captain Jacques de la Motthe
Asher Levy van Swellem
Miriam, his wife
Rebecca, their daughter, 9 years old
Rachel, an orphan, 8 years old
Peter Stuyvesant, Governor of New
Announcer: Many were the
pioneers who came to the new
world in search of freedom. They
fought the wilderness, overcame
great obstacles and laid the
foundations of our great democracy.
On Thanksgiving Day we recall with
gratitude their efforts and
accomplishments. Let us then, on
this Thanksgiving Day recall the first
Jewish pioneers and their arrival to
these shores. Let us recall "The
Twenty-Three and Reyna."
Narrator (appears in front of the
curtain. He assumes his position at
the extreme left side of the stage,
where he will remain until the end
of the play): Three centuries ago, a
ship lay at anchor in the harbor of
New Amsterdam. She was the
French bark, St. Charles, Captain
Jacques de la Motthe, commanding.
Throughout the day, merchants had
rowed out from the tiny village at
the mouth of the Hudson to enquire
about the cargo, to bargain for her
spices and offer their furs. Now,
toward dusk, a small rowboat
brought a man enquiring for the
Captain. (The Curtain opens.)
SCENE 1: (The deck of the St.
Charles. The Captain is leaning
against the railing. Jacob Barsimson
speaks to him.
Barsimson: Captain de la
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 1989
Captain: Yes. I am Captain
Jacques de la Motthe. How can I
Barsimson: I am Jacob
Barsimson: Yes. Captain.
Captain: Buying or selling?
Captain: So? .. .
Barsimson: I have hardly begun
to establish my business.
Captain: How so?
Barsimson: I have but recently
come to New Amsterdam. About a
month ago to be exact.
Captain: By what ship?
Barsimson: The Peartree . . .
Captain: Are you native to the
Barsimson: I've lived in
Amsterdam many years before I
came to this colony. Why do you
Captain: You speak French very
Barsimson: Thank you, Captain.
We learn may langauges — out of
Captain: How so?
Barsimson: We never know
what tomorrow may bring us where
we will be. That is the lot of my
Captain: I take it then that you
are a . . .
Barsimson: Yes, Captain — a
Jew. The only Jew in New
Captain: Then you've come to
see .. .
Barsimson: Your passengers,
Captain. If you'll permit me.
Captain: Out of the question,
Barsimson: But why, Captain?
Captain: I am not answerable to
Barsimson: Of course not,
Captain. But still-surely they are
your passengers not your prisoners.
Captain: They promised to pay
their passage in full! They signed a
Barsimson: So that's how
Captain: Exactly! Until I am
paid in full, no one can see them;
they can see no one.
Barsimson: Will you permit
them to land?