Destination: Salt Lake City

Nearing the end of the bus trip from hell and after being bored beyond belief, Sam was jerked awake from the re-occurring dream of desperation by a brief, but loud message from God’s mouth to his ears. The sound hit him in the back of the head, wrapped around his ears, opened his eyes, dropped his jaw and left his mouth agape. As the bus hauled into sight of the Great Salt Lake, like Moses at the foot of Mount Sinai and the shores of the Red Sea and Saul on the road to Damascus, Sam wondered, if the future of his family was really going rest on what he heard from the voice from the back of the bus.

The deep voice was clear, distinct and short.

“ Open a bar in Salt Lake City! Call it the Dead Sheep Saloon and serve alcohol to the masses. Success is guaranteed! ”

As early as 1826, Jewish trappers traversed the territory. In 1854, a Jewish photographer/typist and writer traveling with a map-making expedition produced pictures of the young Mormon community. That same year, Julius and Fannie Brooks became Utah’s first Jewish family. Many Jewish entrepreneurs followed, establishing commercial shops and business ventures both large and small.

By the 1860s, increasing numbers of Gentiles in the Territory posed a threat to Mormon autonomy. LDS Church leaders adopted a resolution pledging its members to be self-sustaining and to boycott Gentile-owned businesses.

Of course, since Sam Edelstein had not bothered to find out about this valuable historical marketing information, he and his family got off the bus, worn out from their travails of travel but armed with a plan of action with God’s blessing and guarantee of success.

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