Thursday, July 11, 2019

Egyptian-Jewish memoirist Lucette Lagnado dies

Photo taken of Lucette z""l and her husband Douglas Feiden celebrating New Year 2019 

The death has been announced of Lucette Lagnado, author and Wall Street Journal reporter, aged 62.

Lucette Lagnado, born in Cairo, probably did more to popularise the story of Jews driven out from Egypt, like her own family in the 1960s, than any other US writer. Her award-winning book The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit met with international acclaim. It was followed by The Arrogant Years.

The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit centres on her father Leon, with whom she was especially close. The stately Leon, known as the Captain, would stride through the boulevards of Cairo in his white sharkskin suit. An observant Jew, he would attend synagogue every morning without fail. Equally unfailingly, he would stay up all hours to play poker and flirt with women - a uniquely Sephardi blend of religious devotion and wordliness.

Lucette Lagnado 's funeral will take place under the auspices of Manhattan Sephardic Congregation on Friday 12th July at 11:30 am  at the Plaza Jewish Community Chapel, Manhattan and burial will be at Mount Hebron Cemetery. Her family will be sitting shiva.

Alec Nacamuli of the UK Association of Jews from Egypt writes:

Born in Cairo, Lucette Lagnado was seven when her family were expelled as Jews and eventually settled in Brooklyn. She survived cancer as a teenager and brought her personal experiences to her reporting in the Wall Street Journal on hospitals, healthcare and the plight of the uninsured. She won awards for her articles on women undergoing preventative mastectomies and the treatment of dementia in care homes.

After co-authoring Children of the Flames: Dr Josef Mengele and the untold Story of the Twins from Auschwitz on human experiments in the death camps, she won the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature in 2008 with The Man in the white Sharkskin Suit: A Jewish Family’s Exodus from Old Cairo to the New World which concentrated on her father, a flamboyant businessman and dandy in Egypt and the humiliations he suffered in exile, unable to find employment in Paris and ultimately reduced to selling ties in the New York subway. This was followed in 2011 by The Arrogant Years: One Girl’s Search for her lost Youth from Cairo to Brooklyn which focused on her life and her mother who supported the family as a librarian at the Brooklyn Public Library.

WSJ obituary 

Forward obituary (with thanks: Boruch) 

Aish obituary

More about Lucette Lagnado

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