In 1882 a group of 43 Jewish families emigrated from Russia to escape persecution and, aided by the Baron de Hirsch fund, formed The Alliance Colony in South NJ, the first Jewish agricultural community in North America. The colonists farmed successfully for several decades. Generations later, only a handful of Jewish landowners remained.
Illustration from "Russian Jews as Colonists in America,"
New York Herald, July 26, 1891
Malya and William Levin at the Moses Bayuk House, photo by Ahron Moeller
William and Malya Levin first conceived of Alliance Community Reboot in 2014. As a great-great grandson of Moses Bayuk, leader of the Alliance Colony, William had never truly connected with his Jewish agricultural roots or the ancestral farmland his family still owned. Inspired by their first visit to the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center for Sukkahfest, William and Malya realized they had the potential to contribute to the Jewish farming movement, which has experienced a resurgence among the younger generation of American Jews.
The ensuing years were challenging but fruitful. ACRe now operates on 70 acres of family farmland, including the modern farmhouse, historic Moses Bayuk House and shul.
ACRe successfully transitioned to organic farming and has hosted dozens of Jewish community events since 2016.
Rainbow over ACRe Small Field, photo by Nate Kleinman
WHO IS ACRe?
Co-Founder and Alliance Colony Descendant
William was born on the farm and raised in Vineland, NJ, where his family have lived since 1883 as founding Alliance Colony settlers. Levin is an animator, composer and was a writer for “Shalom Sesame.” Known for his edgy and innovative work and his ability to create synergies in the Jewish community—much like his great-great grandfather Moses Bayuk, founder of the Alliance Colony—Levin is returning to his roots by creating ACRe. firstname.lastname@example.org
Co-Founder and General Counsel
Wife and partner to William, Malya is a lawyer admitted to the NY and NJ Bars. Malya is Assistant Director and General Counsel at the Weinberg Center for Elder Justice, the nation’s first elder abuse shelter, and serves on the Executive Committee of the NYSBA Elder Law Section. Malya previously worked in the field of Jewish education for four years. Malya is eager to use her legal, educational and community organizing abilities to help build ACRe. email@example.com
Howard has maintained the Alliance Synagogue for decades, awaiting the day when it would be used again. As soon as William and Malya met Howard, they bonded over their mutual desire to rebuild community on principles of sustainability and Jewish values. Howard has traveled around the world and lived many lives, including years of experience as a farmer and Israeli desert tour guide. Howard joined the ACRe board in 2018. firstname.lastname@example.org
Ahron is a Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardener, mycologist and photographer. A career artist in NYC, Ahron is planning the first “Chickenstock” music festival at ACRe. Ahron has been promoting ACRe events from the beginning and joined the board in 2019. email@example.com
Dan Pelberg is a Jewish meditation practitioner and teacher having learned with Rabbis and teachers in India, Israel, and the United States. Previously, he developed and led Jewish programming at Brandeis Collegiate Institute and studied at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies. He can often be found teaching at Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center. Dan recently discovered his roots in Alliance, and joined the ACRe board in 2019. firstname.lastname@example.org
Friends of ACRe
Nate is a cofounder of the Experimental Farm Network. As a plant breeder and researcher, he is passionate in his pursuit of climate stabilizing perennial staple crops, especially sorghum. Nate ran for U.S. Congress in 2012 and 2018. He has served on the Executive Board of the Project for Nuclear Awareness, the Cumberland County (NJ) Long Term Recovery Group and the Jewish Social Policy Action Network. He is a member of the Seed Advisory Committee of the Non-GMO Project, the Education Committee of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Jersey (NOFA-NJ) and Vice President of GMO Free Pennsylvania.
Resident Shochet Emeritus
Yadidya is an Israeli born shochet, aspiring poultry farmer and educator. Yadidya learned at Yeshivas Bas Ayin for 3 years, where he became interested in animal related mitzvos. He later decided to train in shechita so he could shecht his own naturally raised animals. He received his kabbalah (certification) from the honorable Rabbi Yisroel Landsman Z"L. After residing and planning at ACRe House for over a year, Yadidya founded The Kosher Cut and gives in-depth presentations about shechita and provides shechita training.
Talmudic Scholar and Teacher
Arthur Kurzweil, ACRe cofounder Malya Levin's father, is an author, publisher, scholar, lecturer, magician and America's foremeost Jewish genealogist. His books include Kabbalah for Dummies, The Torah for Dummies, From Generation to Generation, and On the Road with Rabbi Steinsaltz. Kurzweil is the recipient of the Distinguished Humanitarian Award from the Melton Center of Ohio State University for his unique contributions to the field of Jewish education. He also received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies. Arthur has taught many classes at ACRe events.
SARA K & BASSIE AY
Sara and Bassie have built a following of young Jewish professionals drawn to their unique brand of Shabbatonim and holiday gatherings. Sara now resides at the ACRe Farmhouse where she and Bassie regularly host events, utilizing the Moses Bayuk House as a backdrop for outdoor camping and bringing new life to the historic Alliance Synagogue across the street.
After working on a biodynamic vineyard in Australia in 2004, Eli Silins started making wine in California in 2013. He has long been interested in sustainable agriculture systems and the intersection of ancient and modern holistic farming practices. In 2019 Eli moved from Berkeley, CA to Philadelphia, PA and took Camuna Cellars with him. He is currently exploring the bounty of the Mid-Atlantic and experimenting with grapes, apples, and honey and their various combinations: wine, cider, mead, cyser and pyment. Eli is teaming up with ACRe to build the Alliance Historic Model Vineyard beginning April 2023.