RARITAN TWP., NJ - County Historian Stephanie Stevens will discuss her latest book, The Journey, on Tuesday, May. 9.
The book is an account of the origins of Jewish life in Hunterdon, and is published by the Hunterdon 300th Committee. The 36-page volume is the ninth local history book by Stevens.
Beginning in 1885, hundreds of thousands of Jewish people were liberated from a life of serfdom under the Russian czar by a wealthy German humanitarian, Baron Maurice de Hirsch, who sponsored their immigration to America.
The first Jewish family came to Hunterdon in 1908. Stevens recounts their poignant story and those of all who followed them into new lives as American farmers and tradesmen. She also details their contributions to the community and includes many historical photographs.
Stevens says her brief overview “seeks to place the history of our original Russian Jewish brethren into the context of Hunterdon’s diverse population. Over the years, the histories of the Dutch, Germans, and English, have evolved. Now we add the Russian Jewish immigrants to the great quilt pattern known as America.”
Stevens interviewed many people from the Flemington Jewish Community Center during her research for the book including both the late Rabbi Evan Jaffe and Bill Blaher.
The talk begins at 7 p.m. at the Headquarters Branch of the Hunterdon Library on Route 12 here. The event is free, but reservations may be made by calling the Hunterdon 300th at 908-788-2030 or through its website.
The book will be available for purchase at the talk for $5 or purchased anytime at the Readington Library, 255 Main St. in Whitehouse Station.