September 1, 2019
Asser Levy is the teenage son of the shochet of a Dutch territory in Brazil. In his town, known as the “colonial Jerusalem,” Levy can live openly as Jew. However, when the Portuguese recapture the colony from the Dutch in 1654, Levy is forced to flee back to Holland. He is separated from his father but makes him a promise: to become a kosher butcher himself. Levy boards the Falcon with about twenty other Jews. But when his ship is blown off course, it’s attacked by pirates and shipwrecked. Levy uses his wits and resourcefulness to negotiate their rescue with a French captain sailing to North America. His group of 23 becomes the first group of Jewish refugees to land in the island of Manhattan. Little does Levy know that his problems are just starting. The governor of New Amsterdam is set on deporting the refugees and curtailing their rights. But Levy’s promise to his father gives him the strength to fight for his religious rights and become a citizen and the first shochet in America.