Amazon Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars - A solid and uplifting story of immigration in America

October 9, 2018 - - This is a marvelous book. Carol Ascher tells a little-known story of Russian Jewish immigrants who settled in rural Northwestern Connecticut in the early 20th Century. What makes it unusual is that it augments the well-trodden history of Jews as only urban peoples and introduces those who arrived with the hope of becoming dairy farmers. Though their dream didn’t always go as well as some of them would have liked, they stayed and thrived by offering kosher boarding houses, hotels, and other amenities to Jewish vacationers escaping the heat and hardships of living in New York City.
When Ascher set out to mount an exhibit on the subject in the Sharon (Connecticut) Historical Society and followed it with writing this book, almost no one in the region, except for the remaining Jewish residents and their descendants, knew of this incredibly rich history. What came to light, beyond the personal stories, was the fact that a Belgian Jewish Millionaire, Baron Maurice de Hirsch, funded the entire endeavor in 1907, so that through farming Jews could become successful and respected citizens in America.
On a personal note, I recently discovered that my Great Grandparents were also beneficiaries of Baron de Hirsh’s largess, when he funded their homesteading attempt in North Dakota. I discovered from Ascher’s writing that de Hirsh had sponsored such projects all across the United States, Canada, and down into South America.
This book is a must read for anyone interested in immigration in America, especially during this turbulent time regarding the closing off of our borders. It is a solid and uplifting document of what can be accomplished with hard work and determination when given a hand up by a committed and generous philanthropist.