August 31, 2007

Jewish Alliance Colony, 125 Years Later

My niece Lola represents a new generation of Jewish Alliance descendants

Last week I returned home to Vineland, NJ ... and I mean HOME home, back to our farmland where my family lived when I was born, for the 125 year anniversary of the Jewish Alliance Colony. For a little background, Joel Landau of The Courier Post explains in his article, "Town honors anniversary of Jewish colony":
In 1882, 43 Jewish families fled the Soviet Union to come to South Jersey and do something they were never allowed to do before.

The refugees, from what is now Odessa, Ukraine, started the Alliance Colony, which became the first Jewish agricultural colony in the country. Now, descendants of those first families and hundreds more that came shortly afterward reflected on and honored their history at Alliance Cemetery on Gershal Avenue.

My father's side of the family were amongst the original 43, and I have many fond memories of growing up in Vineland with fellow descendants, who are like a big extended family to me.

Rabbi Murray Kohn, who performed our bar and bat mitzvahs, and officiated my sister Sandy's wedding

The songs I write for my cartoons? I have Barbara Kornbluh, my childhood piano instructor, to thank for making learning music so fun!

Celia Pretter, with her daughters Talia and Alana, was our favorite babysitter when we were little. She lived down the street where her parents raised chickens, and we would ask our parents to leave just so Celia would come to sit for us. I was just a wee lad, but you can see why she is still my favorite!


Anonymous said...

I have a sudden desire for chocolate milf now.

Anonymous said...

I remember writing about the 100th anniversary. I'm so glad people remember. It was good to see Rabbi Kohn again. - Randy Brandt, retired journalist and editor, Racine, Wis.

Unknown said...

Raised in Vineland in the 1950's it is still a place I visit when I need a touchstone. I saw Rabbi "K" a few months ago and he is as spry as ever. Thanks for bringing it back. I may have to come down for a couple of Joes chickens soon.
Mark Waldorf