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Stepmother Russia, Foster Mother America : Identity Transitions in the New Odessa Jewish Commune, Odessa, Oregon, New York, 1881–1891

ISBN: 978-1-61811-382-5

Boston: Academic Studies Press, 2017

Объем (стр):211


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In the late nineteenth century, a group of radical Jewish youths from Odessa attempted to create an agricultural commune on the Oregon frontier, and in so doing developed from assimilated revolutionaries to American Jews. Theodore Friedgut relates the story of these youths and their creation, with special notice paid to the human encounters within the commune, the members’ encounters with America in acquiring land and equipment—and, importantly, their encounters with their neighbors, themselves immigrant farmers on the American frontier. Among the volume’s central sources is the memoir of Israel Mandelkern, which is here published for the first time. This study addresses hitherto neglected aspects of Jewish life in Russia and of the life of one of the more than a hundred Jewish agricultural colonies, and helps us understand the factors that influenced the young colony members in their transition toward becoming Americans. This is a microcosm of the experience of multitudes of immigrants.


Dedication vii
Acknowledgements viii
List of Photographs x
Chapter 1: Introduction 1
Chapter 2: The Beginnings of Am Olam 6
Chapter 3: The Birth of New Odessa 16
Chapter 4: First Stop, New York 22
Chapter 5: Beginnings in Oregon 28
Chapter 6: William Frey: Background and Beliefs 40
Chapter 7: Building New Odessa 47
Chapter 8: The Culture of New Odessa 54
Chapter 9: Fruition and Decline 64
Chapter 10: After New Odessa 74
Chapter 11: New Odessa: A Balance Sheet 83
Bibliography 92
Supplement: “Recollections of a Communist” Israel Mandelkern. Edited, with an introduction and annotation, by Theodore H. Friedgut 99
Index 195

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