was the largest of the Jewish farming communities
established in South Jersey. Located about 30
miles southwest of Atlantic City, it was founded in
1891 with 300 Russian and Rumanian Jews who settled
on land purchased by the Baron de Hirsch Fund.
With the aim of establishing a model agricultural
community, the settlers quickly realized how
difficult it was to earn a living on this
land. Within the first year the factories were
introduced for soft goods, particularly clothing.
In 1903, Woodbine was incorporated as an all-Jewish
town. All public offices, police and fire
departments were filled by Jews. Among the
public institutions established were a town board of
health, Village Improvement Association and an
The most important buildings in the colony were the
synagogue and the Talmud Torah. A benevolent
society, Woodbine Brotherhood (Agudath Achim Anshei
Woodbine) was created to give charity, support the
sick and provide funerals to its members. The
society built the Woodbine Brotherhood Synagogue
which was dedicated in 1896 and is now listed as a
National Historic Landmark.
Brotherhood Synagogue houses the Sam Azeez
Museum of Woodbine Heritage.
Permission to reprint
granted by Allen Meyers on March 8, 2018
Southern New Jersey
Synagogues: A Social History - Highlighted
by Stories of Jewish Life form the 1880's
Author: Allen Meyers
NJ Staples, 1991
The first agricultural high school was founded in
Woodbine ca. 1900, the Baron de Hirsch Agricultural
School. Many agricultural developments were
pioneered by the teachers, researchers, agronomists
and soil chemists associated with the Agricultural
In 1905, there were 350 families, numbering 2100
people. Manufacturing was introduced to help
supplement colonists income from farming. It
also provided funding organizations with the hope of
moving immigrants out of the sweatshops of the
cities into a pleasant rural setting. The
settlers worked in three clothing factories and a
rubber factory. During World War II, the
factories manufactured for government needs.
There were still about thirty poultry farms and
about twenty orchard farms around Woodbine.
The colony took pride in the children receiving a
fine American education in Woodbine. By 1920,
a majority of children went on to high school.
Few remained on the farms of their parents or the
local factories. They sought their fortunes in
There are very few Jews left in Woodbine.