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In 1866 A Ship Carrying 157 Christian People from Jonesport, Me landed in Jaffa 1866

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In 1866, a ship carrying 157 Christian people from Jonesport, Maine landed at the port of Jaffa. After more than a month at sea, this group had at last arrived, excited to help the European Jews who were immigrating here to settle and farm. They saw it as an opportunity to participate in the fulfillment of the biblical prophecy of the tribes of Israel returning to the Holy Land. Their ship was packed with farming tools, gunny sacks of seed potatoes, and the wooden planks, window frames, and doors for 22 houses they would build in their American Colony in Jaffa. But after less than two years, disease, homesickness, and a falling out with their leader forced most of the group to return to Maine. In fact, the American writer Mark Twain, who visited the group during their brief stay in Jaffa, called the project “a complete fiasco” in his 1869 “Innocents Abroad” travelogue. But now, 150 years after what was widely considered at the time to be a failure, Jaffa’s American Colony has come back to life, and there is a renewed interest in the story of these settlers from Maine, who started a neighborhood that played an important role in the eventual development of the state of Israel. Today, four of the original wooden houses have been restored, and developers continue to build residential projects in this rapidly gentrifying area to blend in with the style of the colony. “These people that came here from Maine gave up so much, and they deserve to be remembered,” said Jean Holmes, who along with her husband, Reed—a historian and descendant of one of the original members of the colony—bought and restored the house that is also a museum. #tablet #jewishmaine #jonesportmaine #jaffa

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thanks to DMJ for the video

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