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July 02, 2009 - Image 52

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2009-07-02

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Arts & Entertainment


Celebrating Patriotism from page C1

not traditionally observant, they thought
of patriotism and "giving back" as the
family's religion, as editor and author
Kathy L. Plotkin writes.
They gave generously to causes in New
York City, in particular the New York Guild
for the Jewish Blind and Central Park,
where they donated funds for the boat-
house that carries their name to this day.
Carl Loeb worked at the family investment
firm until his death in 1955. Adeline died
two years earlier.

A Family Genealogy
The lengthiest section of the book por-
trays the 10 families comprising eight
generations of the family, with details of
their lives drawn from archives and family
records by Endelman.
Eli Evans, known as the poet laure-
ate of Southern Jewish history, writes in
his introduction to the book, "One must
read these stories with imagination and
empathy, actually filling in spaces between
the lines of these generational profiles
... There is an element of grand opera in
these Moses family stories!'
Here are stories of relatives like Moses
Michaels (1677-1740), who was an early
member of New York's Congregation
Shearith Israel, the first synagogue in the
colonies. He helped fund the first syna-
gogue building and also, in a gesture of
neighborliness, contributed to help build






a steeple for nearby Trinity Church. His
family maintained residences in New York
City and Curacao in the West Indies, where
he conducted business.
Gershom Mendes Seixas (1745-1816),
a chazzan, or conductor of religious
services, at Shearith Israel, persuaded
the congregation to close during the
British occupation of New York during
the Revolutionary War. He was one of
14 religious leaders present at George
Washington's inauguration. This was a
family that felt very much at home in
America — and comfortable as Jews.
Bilhah Abigail Levy Franks (1696-
1756) is known by the long and detailed
letters about colonial life she wrote to the
eldest of her 13 children, Naphtali Franks,
who was based in London; the letters are
now in the collection of the American
Jewish Historical Society in New York.
Some family members, like Judge
Moses Levy (1756-1826), who became a
prominent magistrate and served in the
Pennsylvania Legislature, married outside
of Judaism. Others helped to build Touro
Synagogue in Rhode Island. In more than
a few instances, young women married
widowers who were older than they by
decades and went on to have new families.
Jacob Phillips (1750-1820) was the last
member of the family to make a living in
West Indian trade; his death brought an
end to a way of life shared by many rela-

Gershom Mendes Seixas (1745-1816), a

Bilhah Abigail! Levy Franks (1696-1756)

chazzan during the American Revolution,

provided a rare and candid window into

was present at George Washington's pres-

colonial Jewish life through her chatty

idential inauguration in New York City.

letters to the eldest of her 13 children.

tives over 150 years.
The men of the first four generations
of the family were immigrants or sons
of immigrants who had a cosmopolitan
sense and moved with ease between places
like London, New York, Charleston and
Curacao. Their fortunes were heavily influ-
enced by world events, particularly wars
and acts regulating international trade.
Later generations of the family lived
almost entirely in the South and their
businesses were related to the regional
Isaiah Moses (1772-1857), a great-
grandfather of Adeline Moses Loeb, was
a local merchant in Charleston who also
owned a plantation and was one of the
most active Jews in the sale and purchase
of slaves. He had to sell the plantation,
along with most of his slaves, at a great

loss. He was intensely religious and led
the fight against reforms at the Sephardic
synagogue Beth Elohim. He lived to be
almost 85.
His wife Rebecca Phillips Moses (1792-
1872), who was the mother of 12 children
and stepmother of four, was a passionate
supporter of the Confederacy who suffered
a stroke when she heard of General Lee's
surrender to the Union in 1865.
The 11 genealogical chapters begin
in the 17th century and end in the 20th.
As seen through these profiles, many of
Adeline Moses Loeb's ancestors led bold
lives; they were risk takers, leaders and
distinguished citizens.

Portraits In Patriotism
In colonial days, having a color portrait
done proclaimed the social status and


Nate Bloom
Special to the Jewish News

Woody's Latest

Scheduled to open in Detroit-area
theaters on Friday, July 3, is Woody
Allen's new film, Whatever Works.
Allen is back filming in New York
City; and the main character, again,
is a neurotic, older New York Jew
much like Woody
himself. Except
this time, Larry
David (Curb Your
'lows- Enthusiasm), 62,
plays the "Allen
It's another Allen
Larry David
romance film, with
David's character falling in love
with a much younger, eccentric
Southern belle, played by Evan
Rachel Wood, 22. As in Allen's 1979
film Manhattan, much of the story
revolves around the reaction of oth-
ers to the mismatched couple.
Almost nobody is as well suited

July 2 a 2009


got together in 2006, when
as Wood, by virtue of her
she was just 18, and dated
personal biography, to
through the end of last year.
play the role she does
In a recent interview with
in Whatever Works. She
entertainment news service
can appreciate both the
Wenn.com , Wood called her
Southern and Jewish
romance with the rocker "a
aspects of the film's main
bad idea," and suggested that
Evan Rac hel
young girls shouldn't date
Wood's mother is Jewish,
much older men.
but she also is Southern.
"I don't think it works," Wood said.
Both of Wood's parents are North
"I think it's a bad idea. I think as
Carolina natives; Wood was born in
long as you learn from it - good or
Raleigh, N.C., and spent some of her
bad experience - it's an experience,
childhood there.
and you should take something away
In a recent interview on the Web
from it."
site collider.com , the actress spoke
She added she would have turned
about her mother:
down the chance to work with Woody
Question: Evan, can you talk about
Allen on Whatever Works if her
your real mom? Was she ever all up
character's relationship with David's
in your romantic life?
went too far.
Evan: She made every boyfriend
She said, "I spoke to Larry about it
in my life miserable. And, absolutely,
and told him if the relationship went
she gets up in my business. She's
any further sexually, I wouldn't have
a Jewish mother, too. A Jewish,
done the movie.... That's one of the
Southern mother; so I definitely
things that I liked about the relation-
went through the wringer.
ship in the movie; it never crosses
Wood dated rocker Marilyn
that line or gets creepy."
Manson, now 40, for two years. They

Musical Notes

Barbra Streisand's first studio
CD since 2005, titled Love Is
the Answer, will be released in
September. Jazz singer Diane Krall
will appear on the CD, and the
orchestrations are by Grammy and
Oscar winner Johnny Mandel, 83,
whose compositions include "The
Shadow of Your Smile" and the
M*A*S*H movie and TV theme song,
"Suicide Is Painless."
Baby boomers will certainly
remember Jay and the Americans.
The rock group had a string of '60s
hits, including "Cara Mia," "Come
a Lit Bit Closer" and "This Magic
Moment." On July 21, a deluxe 66-
track collection of all of the group's
singles will be released. The package
will include extensive bio notes.
The Americans were a virtually
all-Jewish band, with the excep-
tion of the original lead singer, Jay
Traynor. The lead singer on most
of the group's hits, Jay Black, is
Jewish. The other four original
Americans also are Jewish. One of

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