The Hightstown, New Jersey, farm of the Hechalutz Organization is remembered this way in the recent book Against the Stream. Seven Decades of Hashomer Hatzair in North America:
"A new era opened in February 1941 when Yitzhak Kedem (Forgang) of K. A. G. , then the movement's treasurer, completed the purchase of "Brown's Farm" in Hightstown, N. J., near Lake Etra [sic] and a short distance from the Jersey Homestead's [sic] Cooperative Needlework farm project. The same farm had been operated by Hechalutz in the 1930s. Now it was being purchased with the aid of a reorganized and revitalized Hechalutz Organization to serve as the training farm for Hashomer Hatzair. It was not farm frmo the Habonim farm at Cream Ridge [New Jersey]. The official "housewarming" of the Hightstown farm was graced by the presence of Albert Einstein, from nearby Princeton, the guest of honor among the many friends, relatives and members of the movement who celebrated the event.
"Hightstown was a 208-acre farm with 114 arable acres and thirty acres of forest. A long avenue of elms led through 48 acres of apple orchard to the large house. There were also hayfields, pasture meadows, chicken ranges and cornfields. In the course of its existence a new farm was built and original house, with burnt down, was entirely rebuilt. To provide a cash income a contract was signed to grow large quantities of tomatoes for Campbell's tomato soups. Two farm members -- Shalom, Kass, an electronics [sic] specialist, and Asher Fishman, a maritime electrician, continued to commute to work in order to add their incomes to the farm's budget.
"An egg route was established, providing eggs to homes in Trenton and Philadelphia. Another member, Aryeh Yaakobi, who had learned sheet-metal work in his father's shop, helped establish the Pioneer Sheet Metal shop, which produced poultry-raising equipment for sale to the neighboring farmers. That was perhaps the first intimation of the possibility of integrating agriculture and industry that was later to characterize most Israeli kibbutzim. Hightstown had a checkered history. During the war years most of the young men were in the armed services or working in war industry[,] and the bulk of the farm's work fell on the shoulders of the women. But the farm carried on and persevered until 1974. Nonetheless, decline set in with the Korean war which also saw a decline in the strength of the youth movement. By that time, the State of Israel was an established fact[;] and young people could go to train there in real kibbutzim.
"The 'generations' of chalutzim from Hightstown eventually helped found the kibbutzim of Hatzor, Ein Dor, Sasa, and Barkai; a large group joined Kibbutz Gal'on, a few joined Kibbutz Nachshon, and yet others joined Kibbutz Hazorea and Kibbutz Shomrat."
In Youth and Nation (1942), A. W. of the "Hightstown farm" wrote:
"It's funny that people still call us 'isolationists.' Guests come from the 'big city' and ask why we hide ourselves from the 'reality' of the day's events. Somehow, cutting asparagus and picking tomatoes is supposed to deaden your awareness of history. Why? We never found out.
"We don't mean reading the daily newspapers and listening to the radio and spending hours in discussing the military strategy or the problems of laboring people all over the world. That's the easy part of it. The harder part is feeling history within your own bones. The thought that here in your group is the germ of history going onward to its just end. For the contribution to the Jewish fate and future that you bring in the daily toil, the hardening of the muscles, and the rigorous and technical preparation for the moment after the war when millions of Jewish youth will stream to the shores of the Near East in search of their homeland, and we will be among them, prepared and ready to help build the Jewish nation."
Hashomer Hatzair. A Monthly Magazine for American Jewish Youth had the following comments in its "In the Movement" column of March, 1941:
"Almost nosing out the [ninth national] convention for spot news is the recent acquisition of a new 208 acre farm at Hightstown, N. J. by the Hechalutz Organization. This farm will be used by members of our third American Kibutz, who, cut off from emigration by the war, are continuing and intensifying their training for future life as pioneers in Palestine. The broad fertile fields, 45 acres of orchard, and modern and extensive facilities for raising chickens will provide ample opportunity for the pioneers to learn and develop their collective economy. Already a group of eight have moved from the old farm at Liberty [New York], to begin work."
Last changed 6 April 2002.