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The Jewish Chicken Farmers of Petaluma: Why Remember?

Part 2 by Kenneth Kann To read Part 1, click here.   I CONDUCTED hundreds more interviews in the years ahead: the children of the immigrants, the grandchildren, and the new suburban settlers who inherited the community. The immigrant children were the generation of my own American-born parents. Here was an assimilation drama. They grew up […]

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The Jewish Chicken Farmers of Petaluma: Why Remember?

Part One by Kenneth Kann   FIRST, ASTONISHMENT. Then outrage. Mine. I was viewing “California Dreaming,” a 2013 exhibit on Bay Area Jewish history at San Francisco’s eminent Contemporary Jewish Museum. The exhibit included the story of an extraordinary Jewish chicken ranching community in Petaluma, thirty-five miles north of San Francisco. This museum exhibit was false: […]

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Great Fears, Great Hopes: A Jewish Agricultural Settlement in 19th Century Oregon

by Karen Karin Rosenberg Discussed in this essay: Stepmother Russia, Foster Mother America: Identity Transitions in the New Odessa Jewish Commune, Odessa, Oregon, New York, 1881-1891, by Theodore Friedgut, and Recollections of a Communist by Israel Mandelkern, introduced and annotated by Theodore H. Friedgut. Both in one volume, Academic Studies Press, 2014, 199 pages. ZIONIST […]

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January 20: The Federation of Jewish Farmers

The Federation of Jewish Farmers was organized in New York City on this date in 1909. It was a federation of thirteen organizations (Connecticut farmers constituted the largest group) that grew to thirty-five within two years. According to the Jewish Women’s Archive, the organization held an agricultural fair in its first years during the week […]

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September 24: The National Farm School

The Board of Commissioners of Public Charities in Pennsylvania visited the National Farm School in Doylestown, Pennsylvania on this date in 1899. The school, on 122 acres, had been chartered three years earlier under the leadership of Rabbi Joseph Krauskopf (1958-1923), the spiritual leader of Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel, the oldest reform synagogue in Philadelphia, “to […]

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