Charleston, A Good Life. by: Ned Brown

SNOBRobert RosenSNOB (2)Charleston, A Good Life, co-authored by photographer, Ben Gately Williams, and writer/editor, Ned Brown, is a book profiling “interesting Charlestonians (old and newer), doing interesting things in a wonderful place.” The book will be released in latter 2016. Charleston, A Good Life,  will tell the story of why Charleston is a special place through over 50 environmental portraits of individuals, the first book about Charleston of its kind. What we are doing with the Charleston, A Good Life blog is telling you a bit about the people we are profiling, and other Charleston topics of interest.

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Pictured above are Charleston divorce super-lawyers, Robert Rosen and Marie-Louise Ramsdale, two “frienemies”, who often represent opposing parties. Weddings, in Charleston, have become an industry unto themselves. Each week, over 120 weddings take place in Charleston, small to extravagant. While the book will profile a wedding planner, Cibi of Cibi Events, we wanted to follow it with a portrait titled, “But, Just In Case”; hence our two subjects above.

Robert Rosen and I met recently for lunch at SNOB. I did not know Robert well, but I did know that he is a published author, and an expert on Jewish history in Charleston, which is what we discussed. During the course of research for the book, I discovered that Sephardic Jews in Barbados and Jamaica likely had a more instrumental role in the founding and early growth of Charleston than what has been previously told. The Jewish families that fled Brazil in 1640, and arrived in Barbados, brought with them the secrets of sugarcane production, and rum distilling; it immediately transformed Barbados into an economic powerhouse in the British Empire. In 1655, the British captured Jamaica from the Spanish, with the intelligence and assistance of the Sephardic Jews living there.

While the first English settlers of Charles Town (Charleston) arrived in 1670, it was the second ship of settlers, arriving from Barbados two years later, comprised of many of the families with names we recognize today; that voyage was underwritten by Barbadian (Christian and Jewish) business interests. By the mid-eighteenth century prominent, wealthy, and politically connected Sephardic Jews in London and Jamaica, like the Lindos and daCostas, arrived in Charleston . More to come in Charleston, A Good Life….

Also seen during our lunch at SNOB were Charlestonians: Ben Moore, Tommy Baker, Sue Limehouse, Tripp Wiles, Linn Lesesne, Lou Hammond, Helen Hill, Peter Lehman, John & Jannette Alexander.

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