An 1899 Postal Card Offers a Unique Insight Into American Jewish History
One of the authors purchased a US postal card for his stamp collection. Based on the preprinted postage and an added postage stamp, we can conclude that the postal card was from no earlier than 1898. The cancellations and address prove that it was mailed from Norma, New Jersey (NJ) on June 12, 1899 en route to Jerusalem, Palestine. It is addressed in German with a message in Hebrew.
The author of the postal card was Isaac Krassenstein, one of a group of Russian Jewish refugees who were resettled in a Southern NJ agricultural colony centered around the modern city of Vineland by France’s Alliance Israelite Universelle. Krassenstein wrote to the Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, Samuel Salant, in reference to fundraising efforts for a Jewish charitable organization.
As pogroms raged in Czarist Russia, some Jews sought refuge by migration to Southern NJ and becoming land-owning farmers. The postal card reminds us of the causes and outcomes of this migration, the continuing connection of these migrants to the Jewish community of Palestine, and a dictum that motivated some migrants to believe that “all of Israel are responsible, for one another” through charity.
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E. Eisenberg, Jewish Agricultural Colonies in New Jersey, 1882–1920 (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1995), xix.
Stamped cards and postcards. Historian. United States Postal Service. September 2014. See https://about.usps.com/who-we-are/postal-history/stamped-cards-and-postcards.pdf. Accessed on March 1, 2019.
Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps & Covers, 78th ed. (Sidney, OH: Scott Publishing Company, 1999), 279.
Scott, 2000, 41–42.
A. S. Wawrukiewicz and H. S. Beeche. US International Postal Rates, 1872–1996 (Portland: CAMA Publishing, 1996).
See F. W. Pollack, The Turkish Post in the Holy Land (1962), 3–4; V. D. Vandervelde, Jewish Colonies in Ottoman Palestine. Postal History, 116–18.
Pollack, The Turkish Post, 36.
See “Chief Rabbi Salant dies in Jerusalem.” New York Times, August 17, 1909; Isidore Singer et al., eds., Jewish Encyclopedia (1901–1906) (New York, NY: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1901–1906), s.v. “Salant, Samuel”; H. Bynum, Spitting Blood: The History of Tuberculosis (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012).
New York Times, ibid.
See Ibid; Singer, Jewish Encyclopedia, ibid.
See S.C. Heilman, Synagogue Life: A Study in Symbolic Interaction (New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 1988), 123; S. Fishbane, “The Founding of Kollel American Tifereth Yerushalayim,” American Jewish Historical Quarterly 64 (1974): 120–37.
Singer, Jewish Encyclopedia.
J. Creelman, “The Turks, the Christians and the Holy Sepulchre,” Pearson’s magazine November 1909, 581–605.
See New York Times, ibid; Singer, Jewish Encyclopedia.
See E.C. Halperin, “The Jewish problem in U.S. medical education, 1920-1955,” J Hist Med Allied Sciences 56 (2001): 140–67; I. H. Levin, “History of alliance, New Jersey. First Jewish Agricultural Settlement in the United States,” The Vineland Historical Magazine 54 (1978): 1–14.
J. Brandes and M. Douglas, Immigrants to Freedom: Jewish Communities in Rural New Jersey since 1882 (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1971), ix.
Eisenberg, Jewish Agricultural Colonies, 25–60.
Brandes, Immigrants, 14–18.
E. Simmons, Hadassah and the Zionist Project (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006).
Brandes, Immigrants, x.
G. Sorin, Tradition Transformed: The Jewish Experience in America. (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997), 41–47.
Brandes, Immigrants, 4.
O. Israelowitz, Jewish New Jersey in Vintage Photographs (Brooklyn: Israelowitz Publishing, 2012), 15.
J. W. Gotsch and A.P. Mohrbacher. “State’s Jewish colonies in danger.” New York Times, June 24, 1984: 20.
See Israelowitz, Jewish New Jersey, 115–17, 125; Brandes, Immigrants, 4; Levin, “History of alliance.”
Israelowitz, Jewish New Jersey, 113.
Gotsch and Mohrbacher, “State’s Jewish colonies.”
Brandes, Immigrants, 65.
Levin, “History of alliance.”
Brandes, Immigrants, 66.
See Israelowitz, Jewish New Jersey, 110; Brandes, Immigrants, 346.
Nehemiah 8: 1–8; E. Tov, Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2012).
Talmud Ta’anit, 30b–31a.
Sidney Bailey, ed., “The Committee on Arrangements. 1882-1932. Yoval. A symposium upon the first fifty years of the Jewish farming colonies alliance, Norma and Brotmanville, New Jersey.” The Golden Jubilee and Fiftieth Anniversary Reunion, August 1932 (Philadelphia 1932), 10.
Brandes, Immigrants, 200.
See Eisenberg, Jewish Agricultural Colonies, 95; Bailey, Committee on Arrangements.
Eisenberg, Jewish Agricultural Colonies, 148.
Brandes, Immigrants, 299.
Eisenberg, Jewish Agricultural Colonies, 171.
Levin, “History of alliance.”
Israelowitz, Jewish New Jersey, 135.
See J. Cohen, “Historic community celebrates its past,” The Forward, September 18, 2007; A. Newman, “The last of the Jewish Farmgirls,” New York Times, June 22, 2005; “The Jewish Farmer,” The Enterprise-Recorder, January 2, 1902; Levin, “History of alliance.”
Talmud Shevout 39a.
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