The Land Was Theirs

The Land Was Theirs : Jewish Farmers in the Garden State

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The Land Was Theirs is a bout Farmingdale, New Jersey, a community of Jewish farming communities in the United States established with the help of the Jewish Agricultural Society. The 50 year history of Farmingdale provides a perspective on the pressures, problems, and satisfactions of rural Jewish life as experienced in one community.

Beginning in 1919, the community grew around the small town of Farmingdale, when two Jewish families pooled their resources to establish a farm. The community evolved gradually as unrelated individuals with no previous farm experience settled and then created the institutions and organizations they needed to sustain their Jewish life. By 1945 Farmingdale was one of the leading egg-producing communities in the United States, and contributed in large measure to New Jersey's reputation as the "egg basket of America."

The Land Was Theirs draws from life-history interviews with 120 farmers, from the author's personal experiences, and from a variety of private and community papers and documents. They are the pieces from which a full picture of a single Jewish farm community emerges.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 256 pages
  • 153.42 x 229.62 x 20.07mm | 408.23g
  • Alabama, United States
  • English
  • 2nd ed.
  • 0817305440
  • 9780817305444

Back cover copy

Challenging prevalent stereotypes, Dubrovsky reveals a unique aspect of Jewish life in America. Although Jews have long been stereotyped as urban businesspeople and professionals, they have been successful agriculturalists since biblical times. In their more recent Eastern European history, 96 percent were forced to live in a region known as the Pale of Settlement, where they were forbidden to own land and were restricted to certain occupations. The pernicious rumor that Jews would not work the soil was then widely broadcast. At the end of the 19th century, young Russian intellectuals were determined to disprove the misrepresentation from which all Jews suffered and prepared to become farmers in America.
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Review quote

"Dubrovsk's book is an intimate and though-provoking account of an often-overlooked chapter of Jewish American life. Her reflective style allows us a rare opportunity ot experience the 'insider' life in a Jewish rural community." --J. Sanford Rikoon, University of Missouri-Columbia
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About Gertrude W. Dubrovsky

Gertrude Wishnick Dubrovsky is President of Documentary III, a nonprofit organization to preserve ethnic rural history, and Yiddish instructor, Hillel, at Princeton University.
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Rating details

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