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March 13 - March 26

Virtual Event Virtual Event

The little-known story of a Jewish naval officer who bought Thomas Jefferson’s beloved Monticello home, restored it from ruin, and turned it into an iconic landmark and national treasure despite antisemitic backlash.

Zoom Conversation: Join us for a “History Happy Hour” Zoom Conversation with Filmmaker Steven Pressman, cohosted by SJFF and the Washington State Jewish Historical Society on Tuesday, March 21 at 6:30 pm. Included with pass/ticket purchases, or register here >>

Streaming Window: March 13-26


Steven Pressman | Documentary | USA | 2021 | English | 72m | PG

Monticello remains one of the most iconic landmarks in American preservation history. While it is remembered in as the home of President Thomas Jefferson, few know the story of what happened to the property after one of our nation’s Founding Fathers passed. When Jefferson died in 1826, he left behind a mountain of personal debt, forcing his heirs to sell his beloved Monticello home and all of its possessions to Uriah Phillips Levy, a Jewish naval officer and fervent believer in Jeffersonian ideals. THE LEVYS OF MONTICELLO tells the little-known story of the Levy family, who owned, restored, and saved the estate from ruin for over 100 years, turning it into an iconic landmark amidst increasing antisemitic backlash from the community. The film also traces how this national treasure stands as a complex symbol and paradox of democracy—a palatial plantation built by slaves and preserved by Jews—and confronts the stain of ongoing racism and antisemitism that remain part of the national narrative.

Director Bio

Prior to becoming a filmmaker, Steven Pressman worked for many years as a newspaper and magazine journalist in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. His first documentary film, 50 CHILDREN: THE RESCUE MISSION OF MR. AND MRS. KRAUS, premiered on HBO in 2013 and was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Historical Programming and has screened around the world and on international broadcast television. He is also the author of “50 Children: One Ordinary American Couple’s Extraordinary Rescue Mission into the Heart of Nazi Germany,” published by HarperCollins in 2014. View official bio on IMDB.

Film Sponsors: Lucy and Herb Pruzan

Community Partners: 

Seattle Jewish Film Festival Information

Need help? Contact boxoffice@sjcc.org | 206.388.0833 (email fastest!). Get all the information you need for 28th Seattle Jewish Film Festival through the links below, including a full listing of all the films.

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Virtual SJCC Event
Mercer Island, WA 98040 United States
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Stroum JCC
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