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My father and mother, together with their four children, moved from downtown New York City to Toms River on May 30, 1920. I vividly recall the first day in Toms River. We came from the train to the farm in a Ford Model T touring sedan.  The road (now Route 9) was an unpaved sand road. The farm consisted of a large house and a very large barn. There were several hogs, a horse and dozens of guinea hens. The house had no electricity. The modern conveniences consisted of an outdoor toilet, an outdoor open well and an indoor hand water pump. There was also a combination wood and cool stove in the kitchen used for cooking purposes and to heat the entire house. There were few homes in the area. Our closest neighbors was the Wexler family, and several others who are by now deceased. There was a one room schoolhouse nearby. The year we settled in Toms River was the first year school busses (2) were used to transport the children to school.

There was but a handful of Jewish families residing in the Toms River area in the early 1920s. There was no Community Center. However, even with no center for the Jewish residents to meet, there were religious services every Saturday and holidays at the home of Mr. Hymen Novins, the father of Ben and the late Bob Novins. The spirit of the handful of Jewish farmers was splendid. Never was there any disharmony or bickering. They had but one purpose in mind; to survive. The best way to survive was to organize. Some people suggested why don't we build a Community Center where all the Jewish people could meet and discuss their problems, and also of course, a place to worship. A short time later, on a Sunday afternoon, about a dozen and a half persons met at my father's home and decided to build a community building. Among those present at this initial meeting were Mr. Novins, Mr. Jacob Wexler, Mr. Mac Kenvin, Mr. Isaac Weinman and Mr. Morris Rosenberg. It was decided to erect the community building on an acre of land donated by Mr. Samuel Kaufman, owner of the United Feed Company. Land at that time was valued at about $40 an acre. The Community was to be build an the corner of Old Freehold and Whitty Roads. Mr. Jacob Wexler and Mr. Morris Rosenberg were contracted to erect the building.

In 1925 cornerstone ceremonies were held and the birth of the Toms River Community of Jewish Farmers was held. When the building was completed it was so different from what it Is today. The basement had a sand floor with a large wood furnace to heat the building. Therefore, during the cold months it was necessary for someone to come early and start the furnace and allow some time to heat the building.

With all the inconveniences, everyone enjoyed themselves. All came to the meetings; the spirit was excellent.  It was an honor to be an officer and to be elected to the executive board. Now we need some of the pioneer enthusiasm today. As I recall, one person who did a great deal for the younger people was Goldie Wexler (Mrs. Goldie Rothman). She helped organize activities and social functions. Her efforts were wonderful.

Abe Freedman