1. How does Edmund imagine the house was like when Charles and his brothers lived there?
Ephrussi had a private suite of rooms on the second floor. There were horses and carriages in those days--their stables now replaced with houses. Edmund imagines the sounds of the trotting horses that Charles and his brothers, who also had suites in the building, heard in the house. The hotel was a family home then.
2. Why was Odessa an important city for the Jews?
Odessa was a Russian city that was located within the Pale of Settlement, an area where Jews were allowed to live. Odessa was a cultural and religious magnet for Jews and others who flocked to the city to take advantage of the export business offered by its important port.
3. What was the family's goal in terms of their grain business?
Grain was the main export out of Odessa and the Ephrussi family became the largest grain-exporters in the world. The family's goal was to ultimately transform its image from grain exporter to international financier, bankers who would provide funds for construction across all of Europe.
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