Jacob Levine

When I was doing the research for my picture book, I Was Dreaming to Come to America, I had the privilege to be present at a few interviews with people who had entered the US through Ellis Island. This is Jacob Levine, a Russian Jewish man who “stole the border” and emigrated from Russia in 1913, at the age of 20. To ‘steal the border’ means to sneak out of the country. Mr. Levine hid in a covered wagon to escape detection by border guards. In other words, he was a refugee, escaping religious persecution.

Mr. Levine settled in the Lower East Side of NYC, where he worked as a tailor and raised his family. He, and every other Ellis Island immigrant that I had the pleasure to meet, sang the praises of his newly adopted country, and was thankful for the chance at a renewed life in America.

posted by Veronica

Link to I Was Dreaming to Come to America: Memories of the Ellis Island Oral History Project is HERE.

Comments (2)

  1. Pedro Cabral

    I think I was listening to all this live histories when I visited the Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.
    Living in a country of migrants I can feel all this burdens, sorrows and joys in many families.
    “… my eyes could clearly see
    the statue of liberty, sailing away to sea… “
    An American Tune, Paul Simon

    I reckon that visiting the Statue of Liberty is a common place but I loved to be there. I enjoyed all the sail from the pier in NYC, with a cinematographic approach changing the scale and point of view.
    Then there is the symbolic meaning of the statue coming from France to USA. THE STATUE OF LIBERTY!
    And it remembers me the thousands of immigrants that came in big ships and to whom this approach was most of all a promise. A promise of arrival.
    And many of this immigrants where the fathers of actual American Citizens…

    Can we roll the movie backwards?

  2. Veronica

    Hi Pedro. I know what you mean.

Post a comment