ARCHITECTURE, YIDDISH THEATER & LINGUISTICS:
PORTRAIT OF ELISA STEINBERG
Elisa Steinberg, Class of 2007, has a combination of talents that’s unique even among our eclectic corps of CAF docents. She acted in the Yiddish theater, was educated in architecture, and studied linguistics at The University of Chicago. Oh, she is a native Spanish speaker, too.
She’s originally from Uruguay, where her Jewish parents emigrated from Poland in the 1920s. “We spoke Yiddish at home,” Elisa says. “From the ages of 3 to 28 I acted in the Yiddish theater ensemble in Montevideo, the capital of the country. When I was a child, I played the role of one of the daughters in Tevye the Milkman. (The play, a drama by Sholem Aleichem, was later adapted as a musical that premiered on Broadway in 1964 as Fiddler on the Roof.)
In the mid-1970s Elisa studied architecture at the University of the Republic-Uruguay. She then worked for an architectural firm, first in Montevideo, then later in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
In 1976 Elisa and her husband, Manuel Diaz, fled Uruguay following the nation’s military coup and rule that lasted until 1984. “We lost our house and most of our possessions, but the worst was losing my architecture portfolio,” says Elisa. They relocated to New Haven, Connecticut, in 1978, when Manuel was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for research in molecular and cellular biology at Yale University…
Click HERE to access article online in the Docent Quarterly.
Follow this link to download article as a pdf –> SteinbergCAF
PHOTO: Friends celebrate Elisa’s birthday at the AMC River East. From Left: Elisa Steinberg, Manuel Diaz, Rich Miller, Dan Susmano & Sara Susmano.
(Jan Lisa Huttner/2009 Chicago International Film Festival)