As "Ahm Hasefer," The People of the Book, we Jews have created and sustained our identity to a large part by preserving our history.  The Jewish Immigrant Farmers of Rensselaer County reunion, an assemblage of over one hundred participants at the East Greenbush Comfort Inn just a couple of weeks ago, was such an exercise. 
            People from all over the United States -- locals as well as current residents of California, Maryland, Boston, New Jersey, Florida, New York City and elsewhere -- gathered to share stories of the unique farming community that flourished in Upstate New York, beginning at the turn of the 20th Cenury, in towns such as Nassau, East Nassau, Schodack, Hoags Corner.
            They shared anecdotes , affirmed their families' joys and farming struggles at open microphone sessions; listened to academic historians Joseph Adler, Harvey Strum and Steve Berk analyze where their families came from and why, what they faced when they landed here; learned from local historians Diane Hutchinson and Kurt Vincent about the demographics of the Jewish settlers' farms; took in sections of Larry Fader's long narrative poem -- "Country Shtible -- about his farm family, the community and the plight of immigrants in general. They were treated to the singing  harmonies of a Krouner family Camp Schodack based quartet; and, of course, they shared a bagel and lox Sunday lunch, supervised for the occasion by the Albany area Va'ad Hakashrut.
            Preceding the actual reunion, the Nassau Synagogue and Jewish Community Center hosted Kabbalath Shabbath and Saturday morning services in the historic Nassau shul, well attended by reunion participants and current area residents, alike.  The Nassau shul is the single remaining synagogue of three original "Shtibels," -- in Nassau, East Nassau and East Schodack --  that helped hold the immigrants together as they struggled to add American continuity to a two thousand year history of wandering from place to place in the diaspora.