Reviewing her book Jacob’s Cane. Jan 10th, 2010. 4:00 p.m.
Author Elisa New will discuss her book, “Jacob’s Cane” at the Jewish Museum of Florida as part of the Florida Jewish History Month on January 10th, 2010 at 4:00 p.m.
Rich with details, “Jacob’s Cane” begins with Jacob Levy’s arrival in America and the fabric-finish business that he started in the basement of his West Lombard Street row house in the late 1880s. He was so successful that he soon opened a factory on Baltimore’s Redwood Street. But as New describes it, his personal life was unhappy and she focuses on the indomitable Levy (her great-grandfather) and the cane that she found in her cousin’s Baltimore house. Marked with place names, the cane led New to her family’s roots in a small town near the Jewish cultural center of Kaunas, Lithuania, and to their years in Baltimore as entrepreneurs and members of the Jewish upper-middle class.
New’s discursive book ranges from bucolic descriptions of the verdant Lithuanian countryside to nightmarish recollections of Jewish persecution. The author embellishes her narrative with anecdotes about life in 1920s Baltimore, and reflections on Lithuanian history, customs, foods and language. As New tells her family’s story, she adds her own history, noting her second marriage to former president of Harvard and current adviser to President Barack Obama, Larry Summers, who will introduce the speaker.
Elisa New, a 1980 graduate of Brandeis University, taught courses at the University of Miami and has published many books. She now teaches courses in classic American literature in Harvard’s Department of English.
Jewish Museum of Florida
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