By Janet Serra

Posted: 09/30/2016 13:34:44

The Sharon Historical Society located on 18 Main Street in the beautiful village of Sharon has opened a new exhibit called "A Chance for Land and Fresh Air: Russian Jewish Immigrants in Ellsworth and Amenia, 1907-1940".  

This historical exhibit traces the history and tells the story of thirty Jewish families who beginning in 1907 became dairy farmers in the Ellsworth Hills above Sharon. Twenty years later, most had moved to Amenia, New York, where they ran boarding houses and hotels, turning Amenia into a Jewish resort. The exhibit highlights several families who continue to have farms in the area, including the Gorkofskys, Osofskys, and Paleys.

Carol Ascher, guest curator of the exhibit, lives in the Ellsworth Hills and came upon this hidden history when she heard of a couple of Jewish farmers who had lived in her area. She examined the town's land records, which, in turn, led her to census data and the archives of the Center for Jewish History in Manhattan, and back to Sharon and Amenia, to conduct interviews and collect family photographs, and other documents.

Marge Smith, Sharon Historical Society Curator, has been instrumental in designing the exhibit. Joel Osofsky, whose grandfather settled in Ellsworth in 1907, has assisted with photographic reproduction and mounting.