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LEGACY of GOLD
A Novel by
Targum Press Inc.
22700 W. Eleven Mile Rd.
Southfield, Mich. 48034
Philipp Feldheim Inc.
To my loving parents,
for their endless support, trust, and patience.
A Note to the Reader
Many of the events that take place in Legacy of Gold
are historically accurate. Faced with a shortage of space
in her penitentiaries early in the nineteenth century,
England converted the newly discovered land of
Australia into one large prison. Among the countless
thousands sent out by ship were numerous Jewish
unfortunates, some of them falsely accused, others con-
victed of crimes such as stealing a loaf of bread to feed
a starving family.
In the early 1850s, John Dunlop, an aging gold
miner, found the largest goldfield in Australia, at Bal-
larat. This led to the obsessive delirium that came to be
known as the gold rush years.
Many of the characters appearing in the book did
actually live through this exciting time. Moses Rintel
was appointed to lead the Melbourne Hebrew Congre-
gation and married into the well-respected Hart family.
Asher Hart and his cousin Henri played an instrumen-
tal part in consolidating the small number of Jews in
Melbourne at the time; until the appointment of a
chazzan and Torah reader, Asher Hart himself carried
out these duties. Before sailing to Melbourne, John
Henry Anderson was the secretary of the Launceston
Hebrew Congregation in Tasmania, a large island
south of Australia. Walter Lindenthal worked with a
few Jewish communities as chazzan, while Samuel Isaacs
and Solomon Benjamin were leading members of both
the Jewish and general Melbourne community.
No remains exist of Cashmore's Corner or the syn-
agogue built at the top of Bourke Street, Melbourne,
though both institutions did exist at the time.
Though I have used these true-life figures as minor
characters, the part they play in this novel is wholly
fictitious and is solely a product of my imagination. All
other characters in the book are fictitious and any
resemblance they may have to known personalities is
Raphael G. R. Sackville
The bearded young man stood by the postal window
fingering the carefully wrapped package that had been
placed before him. The clerk, seeing the bemused ex-
pression on the young man's face, quickly asked him if
everything was in order.
"Oh...oh, yes," the young man answered in heavily
"In that case" the postal clerk nodded meaning-
fully in the direction of the line of impatient people
awaiting his attention.
With an apologetic smile, the young man moved to
the side of the main Jerusalem post office. Again, he
stared at the brown paper, the neatly tied string, and,
especially, the postmark. Melbourne! It had been years
since he had lived in his Australian hometown, years
since his family, upset with his decision to live as an
Orthodox Jew, had cast him adrift.
He himself hadn't realized how much he'd felt his
lack of roots, of continuity, of family, not until that day
several months ago when he'd received the first unex-
pected letter from Melbourne. The elegant stationary
bore the name of one of Australia's most respected law
The letter itself was a puzzle:
Mr. Moshe Lazar
Maalot Dafna, Jerusalem, Israel
Dear Mr. Lazar:
Pursuant to the terms of the last will and
testament of the late Moses Lazar, upon receipt
of proof of identity and a letter affirming your
present status as a student in a religious institu-
tion in Jerusalem, a bequest will be forwarded.
Your reply is awaited.
A bequest from whom? For what? How much?
"I don't believe it," he thought. "But then, again,
why not? Stranger things have happened." He was
aware that his forebears had been wealthy. Perhaps a
legacy had come his way from some forgotten great-
He went, almost on a whim, to the office of his
yeshiva, a respected institution for ba'alei teshuvah, got
the letter certifying his student status requested by the
lawyers, and sent it off with a copy of his birth certifi-
cate, passport, and a notarized letter from the
Australian consulate. Then he forgot about ituntil
yesterday, when he'd received the postal notice. A par-
eel, sent via registered mail, was awaiting him.
And now, before him, lay the mysterious box with
that compelling, evocative postmark: Melbourne.
Moshe walked slowly down Rechov Yaffo, clutching
the package. As he waited at the crowded bus stop, he
impulsively ripped it open. The Jerusalem sun glinted
sharply upon...gold! A golden menorah! Startled, he
quickly covered it again and carefully drew out the
other object. It was a journal, leather-bound, with
words carefully gold-stamped upon it.
The Chronicle of Moses Lazar
Moses Lazar...Moshe Lazar...
He couldn't wait for the bus; he hailed a taxi and
Inside his small apartment he carefully took out the
contents of the mysterious package.
In front of him stood the menorah. It was blackened
in places, but otherwise hadn't suffered over time. He
couldn't take his eyes off it. Its every curve had been
made with such loving, meticulous care. He supposed
that its value would run into thousands of dollars. He
picked it up. It measured from the end of his middle
finger to mid-forearm.
He had the urge to polish it, but his hand instinc-
tively reached out to the leather-bound volume lying in
front of him. The menorah could wait. He placed a
small coffee table in front of his most comfortable
armchair and rested the menorah on top of it close
enough to touch while he read. He took the manu-
script in hand and studied it carefully.
It was larger than the size of a magazine and bound
in thick, camel brown leather. It opened with what
appeared to be an introduction.
Though eager to start reading, Moshe couldn't
bring himself to begin until he had leafed through the
thick, cream-colored pages. This was his manuscript,
and yet he still didn't feel as though it belonged to him.
He wanted to feel its texture, let its leathery aroma
permeate the air with its musty smell of the past.
At last he was ready. He thumbed carefully back to
the introduction and began to read.
I have done nothing singular in this life of mine to
warrant my name's enduring after I leave this world. Many
years from now the memory of my name and the turmoil of the
years I shall soon write of will be forgotten. I have never
chased nor cared for fame, and have made it my business to
live a simple, honest life and do my utmost to avoid con-
troversy. My life, however, has been filled with everything but
the quiet I have sought. I confess that it has had more twists
and turns to it than I can count or wish to remember.
I have been transformed quite overnight from a member of
the poor rabble of England to the ranks of the newfound
aristocracy of Australia. Today I am able to afford whatever
my heart desires. My family and I lack nothing. There is not
an item or piece of land existing in this colony that I could not
obtain should I so desire. My reward in this world has been
huge, and I only pray that I shall have merited reward in the
next world as well.
Rich though 1 am, I enter the twilight years of my life an
unhappy man. My nights are sleepless and my days somber.
My time in this world is not measured by minutes and hours,
but by a fear that has bound me like a man shackled in chains.
I was bom a Jew and shall die one, proud that the law
Moses brought down from Sinai has been revered, respected,
and kept by me to the best of my limited ability. But I am only
one man, and my sphere of influence has fallen low. I see those
Jewish souls living around me losing touch with the law given
to us 3,191 years ago.
I cannot blame them. Here in Australia, thousands of miles
from the closed life of sullen England, we live in a land of
endless, empty plains, among a foreign people. Our numbers
are small. We haven't the means to educate our children, feed
our families, and honor our God as we have been commanded.
We have become like the nations who flock to these shores
whether by free choice or not. Today we live alongside them as
neighbors. Tomorrow our families shall assimilate into theirs.
Then all will be lost. I pray to the Almighty every day that He
spare my family until the Messiah comes to redeem us so we
may have the honor to continue worshiping the Lord with total
Such is my lot: a lonely Jew condemned to live out the
remainder of his days dreaming of the holy Jerusalem that he
shall never see.
When I have finished this story 1 shall entrust it to my
solicitor with strict instructions that it remain sealed until such
time that a descendant of mine shall study in the holy city
itself. To him, and him alone, I shall entrust my story. My
prayer is that my words will bring inspiration to a heart that
has already turned to face the Almighty in His holiest of cities.
I am not naive. I realize that I may not succeed and three
generations hence ours may be a family totally lost. If this
should happen, God forbid, then my story shall remain a secret
forever. Yet somewhere deep in my heart I know that many
years from now a descendant of mine will have found the merit
to read these pages.
Child of my future, pray with me now that the flame of
perfection in this world that our forefathers lit never be
extinguished. Let us pray that the menorah light shall once
again find its place in the next Beis Hamikdash.
I will never forget the stench that permeated the
bowels of the freezing hulk called the Havring as it
sailed me out of England, away from my starving
family. It increased in intensity with every mile that
further distanced my fellow unfortunates and myself
from the docks of Portsmouth, until finally, upon
reaching the shores of Australia, we had become like
the disgusting filth itselfnothing more than refuse
that required dumping. And that is what we were:
human refuse traveling across the seas to the largest
natural prison in the world.
Ah, the Havring! Cruel, cruel ship that she was. It
was she who tore me away from my dear wife, son, and
daughter. It was she who showed me the sights of the
world through her gloomy portholesthe Canary Is-
lands, Cape Verde Islands, Rio De Janeiro, Cape Town,
and further eastward until we were spewed out at Port
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