Jewish families came to Northeast Ohio,
buying farm land with financing backed by
Some were new immigrants; others moved
from cities, wanting their children to breathe free.
Some dedicated themselves to farming while
others worked at other jobs or started small
businesses. They were a close knit community
that had no formal community structure.
In the mid 1920s, with the help of the
national Jewish Agricultural Society
(JAS) and the Cleveland section of the
Council of Jewish Women, the Jewish families
around Geneva were getting organized .
Their newly formed Jewish Farmers
Association of Geneva Ohio was now ready to raise funds
for purposes described
as a community center, a synagogue and a Jewish school.
The picnics of 1928 and 1929
Today we would
call the 1928 "banquet" held at the farm of Meyer and Slova Flock on
Labor Day, Monday September 3, 1928 the
"kick off" event in a fund-raising campaign.
Jewish Agricultural Society (JAS) officials were there.
Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver of The Temple was
the honored guest.
The "second annual
picnic" was also on the Flock farm, but the
event was moved to Independence Day,
Thursday, July 4, 1929. It included a bazaar that ran through
7. Rabbi Barnett Brickner of the Euclid
Avenue Temple spoke.
For a page with more on both picnics,
After the 1929 picnic publications say little about the Jewish
farmers. In 1932 they hired an Orthodox
rabbi for part-time teaching and to lead
High Holy Day services. This may have used
funds raised at the picnics.
There is no further mention of the Farmers
Association or its campaign.
It may have been a casualty of the
Depression or a sign of community
decline as its children departed for college
and many families left for city life.
After World War II Cleveland's Jewish
newspapers carry reports of life cycle
events of the children of the Jewish farmers
and the accomplishments of some of them.
There are no stories of an active community,
only tales looking back. In 1990 and
1992 we have reports of reunions organized
by the children of these Jewish farming