Special to the Jewish News
Noah, age 3, is a lineal descendant of Philip Moses
Russell who "assisted in establishing American
Independence while acting in the capacity of surgeon
mate attached to Second Virginia Regiment under Col.
hile most Americans give but a passing
Robinson, Valley Forge, 1777-1778." This is followed
nod to Washington's Birthday on Saturday,
by a detailed list of ancestors, their spouses, birth and
Feb. 22, the day is more meaningful to •
death dates and locations and attached documentation.
Southfield resident Leah Gella Tolwin.
Although Leah is pretty much matter of fact about her
That's because she's a direct descendant of Philip
unique yichus (lineage), her husband, Rabbi Alon
Moses Russell, the only Jew who fought at Valley Forge
Tolwin, director of Aish HaTorah Detroit, finds it fasci-
with Gen. George.
Russell, who lived from 1740-1830, served as a "sur-
He hauls out family tree charts and photocopied doc-
geon mate" to the
uments, such as Russell's
American troops as they
pension contract and his
fought the British in the
will. Rabbi Tolwin notes
that his wife is also related
While general surgeons
to Uriah Phillips Levy, the
took daily salaries of $6,
first Jewish commodore in
surgeon mates earned $1
the American Navy and the
a day as they helped
purchaser of Thomas
amputate limbs and
mend wounds. Russell
Leah describes a small oil
portrait of Philip Moses
typhoid and resigned in
Russell that her son Noach
1780, but received a
will someday inherit. "He's
very striking and aristocrat-
Washington for his care
ic-looking," she says.
of the sick.
"Christie's [art auction
Russell married Esther
house] and all these muse-
Mordechai, whose father,
ums around the world want
it. It's awesome.
Leah Tolwin with her son Noach, 5.
was the rabbi in
"I'm proud to be an
American," Leah continues.
Russells raised 10 chil-
"It's an open miracle that
dren and; through their daughter Judith, 12 generations
Jews have been free in America since the beginning of
later, Leah came into the world.
American history. To be part of that history is wonder-
With this illustrious past, Leah is the bona fide, dues-
paying member number 760,893 of the Daughters of
"I've always known I was a Daughter of the American
the American Revolution. She is one of the very few (36
Revolution," she says. "It was just assumed that you
to be exact) Jews in the blue-blood organization today.
knew who you were. The only time I got excited about
The Tolwins have applied for membership for their
it was when I saw a painting of George Washington at
son, Noach Eliyahu Tolwin, as a Son of the American
Valley Forge holding a menorah. I thought: 'I bet that's
Revolution. The lengthy application form attests that
my relative sr"
or an animal to be kosher,
it needs to have been iden-
tified as such by the Torah
or a rabbinical authority
and slaughtered according to Jewish
ritual. What else needs to happen
before it can be cooked and con-
-Tfus pur 2uriisum. Tunl!a ata
"Usually, a person dies and then their
soul shines down on us from heaven. It
is rare that a spirit shines down on us
from heaven and then dies. Ilan Ramon
was one such rare soul."
— Dovi Scheinen editor of Kosher Spirit
magazine, an affiliate publication of OK
Kosher Certification, quoted in the Feb. 3
article "Pride and Pain" in Chabad.org
"The rabbinate needs substance, but
the most important thing is creating a
sense of love and family."
— Rabbi Avi Weiss, quoted in a personal-
ity profile in the February issue of
There once was a fella named Jules
Who lived by these few shopping
Buy wholesale. It's best.
Forget all the rest.
A geshvolleneh tollar's* for fools!
— Martha Jo Fleischmann
"It's good to light the Shabbat candles because it respects God,
and He created the world."
* (literal) swollen dollar
(figurative) inflated price
— Laura Goldman, 8, West Bloomfield
Sponsored by Lubavitch
To submit a candlelighting
message or to receive
and information on Shabbat
candlelighting, call Miriam
Arnzalak of Oak Park at
(248) 967-5056 or e-mail•
Friday, Feb. 21, 5:54 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 28, 6:02 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 22, 6:57 p.m.
Saturday, March 1, 7:06 p.m.
I hope; I wish; I hope so; if only I
Source: From The New joys of Yiddish
by Leo Calvin Rosten, edited by
Lawrence Bush, copyright 2001, by
the Rosten Family LLC. Used by per-
mission of the Rosten Family LLC.