A conflict between two deeply rooted traditions raises the specter of anti-Semitism and provokes a struggle over a community's future.
In 1987, a group of Lubavitcher Jews, among the most orthodox and zealous of Jewish sects, opened a kosher slaughterhouse just outside tiny Postville, Iowa (pop. 1,432). When it became a worldwide success, Postville found itself both revived and riven, as the town's initial welcome of the Jews turned to confusion, dismay, and even disgust. By 1997, the town voted on what was essentially a referendum: yes or no on whether these Jews should stay.
A laboratory of ethnic strife, Postville is at the leading edge of the new wave of immigration in the heartland. Its story digs deeply into the questions that haunt America nationwide: how to build community, how to accommodate diverse but equally powerful traditions, how small towns can compete with big money. Stephen Bloom's vibrant, dramatic portrait of Postville's troubles is a haunting metaphor for America today.
About the Author:
Stephen G. Bloom is an award-winning journalist and has been a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, the San Jose Mercury News, and other major newspapers. He now teaches journalism at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, where he lives with his wife and son.
A gripping portrayal of a confounding collision.