This is the story of the Toms River Jewish farmers who made Ocean County, New Jersey an egg-producing capital. It was early spring, 1910. Sam Kaufman, owner of the biggest bar in Brooklyn, was worried about his sick daughters. He knew he had to get them out of the stale New York City air. Perhaps he could buy a farm. But the Catskills, where he first looked, lacked schools and he had five daughters to educate. Then he learned of Toms River, near the sea in central New Jersey. It was only 75 miles south of where he lived in Brooklyn. NY. Toms River had reasonably priced farmland, a small town atmosphere, only 800 inhabitants. Most importantly, it had a good high school.
This post gives a description of the novels and memoirs left to us by early 20th Century Southern Brazilian farmers. They offer fascinating portrayals of Jewish immigrant life. The post includes visuals, links to more information and a list of references. We also include how to find both the original and secondary works in libraries worldwide.
In this post, videos, an interactive map and many references supplement a short history of Jewish farming communities in Connecticut.
Beginning as early as 1891, Baron Hirsch supported the settlement of Jewish farmers in Connecticut. By 1928 there were over 5000 Jewish farm families in the state. The Baron Hirsch Fund and its subsidiary the Jewish Agricultural Society (JAS) sponsored these projects. The projects continued throughout the first half of the 20th Century. They not only helped the Russian Jews escaping pogroms in the first part of the century, but after WWII Holocaust survivors as well.Continue reading
This post contains a short history of the Brazilian Jewish farming communities supported by Baron Hirch’s legacy and some references. You can read about eye witness descriptions of these communities here.
Baron Hirsch established the Jewish Colonization Agency (JCA) in 1891 “to assist and promote the emigration of Jews from any part of Europe or Asia… and to form and establish colonies in various parts of North and South America ….”. And during the Baron’s lifetime the Agency supported farming communities for Eastern European Jewish immigrants in Argentina, the United States, and Canada.
But after the Baron’s death in 1896, the new directors of the JCA decided to establish additional communities in the extreme South of Brazil. They were located near the city of Santa Maria in the State of Rio Grande do Sul. The first Brazilian colony, Philippson, opened in 1904, and the second, Quatro Irmãos, in 1912. Three other colonies were later formed. Continue reading
Going to the southern Jersey shore this summer? Take a day trip to nearby Pittsgrove Township, the site of the Baron Hirsch funded Alliance farming community. In May 1882, 42 Russian Jewish families arrived to form this cooperative.
Read more about it in this article from the FORWARD newspaper and this Wikipedia entry
This post includes photos and references on the October 1909 Jewish Federation of Farmers conference and fair in New York City. It was held at the Educational Alliance at the corner of East Broadway and Jefferson. The most popular of the 225 exhibits were presented by the Baron Hirsch Agricultural College in Woodbine, New Jersey. Over 50,000 people visited the exhibit. Speakers included the Assistant Secretary of Agriculture, the honorable W.M. Hays.
The Cornell Agricultural College, one of the most important agricultural schools in the United States, as well as the New Haven Experiment Station, the New Jersey College of Agriculture and the Massachusetts Agricultural College, participated in the exhibition. In the 1935 History of the Baron de Hirsch Fund, the author called this participation “true public recognition: American universities taking part in an agricultural exposition organized by Russian Jews.” 1
- Joseph, Samuel. The History of the Baron Hirsch Fund, Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1935. p. 142.
Check out the article from SLATE at the link below, on why Jews don’t farm. It is written by a descendent of an immigrant to the Baron Hirsch farming community in Woodbine, New Jersey. It is fun to read. But, contrary to his thesis, there were Jewish farming communities in Ukraine and Bessarabia and even Siberia. In fact before the assassination of Czar Alexander II in 1881, Jews were allowed, and often encouraged, to buy land and farm in Russia.
For video interviews with American Jews who did farm go to
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries Baron Maurice de Hirsch, the builder of the Vienna-Constantinople Railroad, and his friends, sponsored the settlement of Eastern European Jews in many lands. They spent the equivalent of $3 billion in today’s dollars, working primarily in North and South America.
This blog was established to collect and tell the stories of the Jewish farmers that Baron Maurice de Hirsch supported in both North and South America and the follow on stories of their descendants worldwide.
We present written works and visuals depicting the original immigrants and relating the achievements of the descendants of these immigrants. And there are many achievements. Our forebears were courageous and ingenious people as are their grand and great-grandchildren.
This blog also proposes to unite many of today’s beneficiaries of the Baron’s generosity, We believe that cooperation and sharing among us could result in many inspiring and amazing ideas and projects.
We hope you will send us your stories and permission to publish them. Click here to contact us. And if you have a particular question about this immigration phenomenon, let us know. We will research the answer and write a post.
MORE ON BARON HIRSCH
For the whole story, read the official history of Baron Hirsch’s Jewish Colonization Association, An Outstretched Arm.
For information on Baron Hirsch’s work in the United States through the Jewish Agricultural Society click on the title of this post by Professor Emeritus of North Carolina State University, Gary Moore.
Here you can find over 50 different books on the life and work of Baron Hirsch?
Also, check out this short summary of Baron Hirsch’s work with Jewish farmers.
And click here for a list of the archives worldwide of Baron Hirsch related documents, including correspondence with individual immigrants.