Saturday, May 26, 2018

Carol Ascher on Local Jewish Immigrant Farmers

Local historian and award-winning author Carol Ascher will present a slide show and talk based on her latest book, A Chance for Land and Fresh Air, Russian Jewish Immigrants in Sharon and Amenia 1907-1940.

Ascher tells the stories of thirty Yiddish-speaking Russian Jewish families who arrived in America, and began purchasing small farms in Sharon, Connecticut, at the turn of the 20th century. In the 1920s, some of these farmers began moving to Amenia, where the terrain was more hospitable to dairy farming. There they built a Jewish resort that lasted into the 1950s, and a synagogue that continues to function.

Many of the descendants of these farmers still live and farm in the area. Ascher draws her stories of local Jewish rural life from photos and interviews with such descendants as Arnoffs, Coons, Epsteins, Gorkofskys, Marcuses, Osofskys, Paleys, Rothsteins, Ruges and Temkins, and from many other historical sources and documents.

Carol Ascher, lives in rural northwestern Connecticut. She has published 2 novels and a memoir, as well as stories and essays. Her work is  informed by her unique experience of growing up in a “divided world”: in Christian Middle America (Kansas), with parents who belonged to a community of Jewish intellectuals— psychoanalysts who had fled the Holocaust and been recruited by the prestigious Menninger Clinic.