The enterprise was a huge international success, with its kosher meats exported even to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. The Jewish population grew to 150, and they were rich. The town was saved, and the people were grateful. All's well that ends well? Not quite. The Hasidim kept to themselves, did things their own way, and basically had no interest in integrating into Postville. And why would they? Their laws are strict, their mission clear, their community defined by race and religion. They are not interested in watermelon socials or coffee klatches at the diner. Their little boys do not swim with their little girls, are not educated together, and do not go on play dates with goyim. Small-town Iowans, on the other hand, are very friendly. They know each other's news, they support each other's businesses, they wish each other Merry Christmas, they want you to feel at home. They don't like that the new townspeople stomp up the street hunched over, talking in a foreign language and looking straight through them when greeted. They really don't like it when one of the newcomers drives around town with a 10-foot candelabra strapped to his car playing music at full volume for eight consecutive winter nights. They don't actually know about menorahs or Hanukkah.
Into this comes secular Jew Stephen Bloom, a professor at the University of Iowa. By the time he arrived in Postville, the town was riven along religious lines. One of the townspeople was running for mayor on the sole platform of annexation of the land on which the plant stood. Rubashkin was threatening that he'd shut the plant and leave if that came to pass. Bloom closely considers both sides, and the result is a wonderful book. It is a fascinating tale of culture clash in the American heartland: the John Deere cap meets the black fur hat. It is a book about identity and community and what it means to be American. It covers all the things you aren't supposed to talk about at the dinner table--religion, politics, and even sex. It is full of suspense: Will the plant be annexed? Will the Jews leave? And it is also Bloom's exploration of his own sense of belonging. --J. Riches --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I learned a lot from this film as I come from this area, it didn't work out very well for the people from the town. the writer did a good job telling the storyPublished 3 months ago by Randy Puffett
This paperback edition was published in 2003, before all the tumultuous events which befell the kosher packing plant in Iowa after that. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Schmerguls
Very interesting if you are a person who is interested in people, places and culture! I was born and raised in Iowa sothis was especially interesting to me.Published 9 months ago by LaDean
Very thought provoking. It is easy to jump to conclusions and condemn one side or the other in this dispute based simply upon stereotypes, but after reading the book one gains... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Arnieman
What you won't find in this book (since it came out in 2000):
*USDA's unpublished, highly critical report on Agriprocessors in 2005. Read more
I truly thought this could be a dry anthropologic treatment of the clash of cultures, but instead the journalist-narrative really strives to bring humanity dripping with details... Read morePublished 14 months ago by S. Oppenheim
Interesting read though I suspect it took both cultures out of context. There are good and bad in both. Read morePublished 18 months ago by F. Goldenson
On Apr. 5, 2013, The Daily Tar Heel announced that the Christians United for Israel organization will co-sponsor an event on the UNC Chapel Hill campus titled "Standing with... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Michael Caracappa
This author allowed no stereotype to be unturned. He didn't take the easy way out either. I thought it was unusually honest. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Non-Fiction Reader