Postville: A Clash of Cultures in Heartland America, by Stephen Bloom

**Please note venue change**

To provide some variety and change, we decided on a non-fiction book this month, but one with a story that reads like a novel.

In 1987, a group of Lubavitchers, one of the most orthodox and zealous of the Jewish sects, opened a kosher slaughterhouse just outside tiny Postville, Iowa (pop. 1,465). When the business became a worldwide success, Postville found itself both revived and divided. The town's initial welcome of the Jews turned into confusion, dismay, and even disgust. By 1997, the town had engineered a vote on what everyone agreed was actually a referendum: whether or not these Lubavitchers should stay.

The quiet, restrained Iowans were astonished at these brash, assertive Hasidic Jews, who ignored the unwritten laws of Iowa behavior in almost every respect. The Lubavitchers, on the other hand, could not compromise with the world of Postville; their religion and their tradition quite literally forbade it. Were the Iowans prejudiced, or were the Lubavitchers simply unbearable?

Award-winning journalist Stephen G. Bloom found himself with a bird's-eye view of this battle and gained a new perspective on questions that haunt America nationwide. What makes a community? How does one accept new and powerfully different traditions? Is money more important than history? In the dramatic and often poignant stories of the people of Postville - Jew and gentile, puzzled and puzzling, unyielding and unstoppable - lies a great swath of America today.

Join or login to comment.

  • David G.

    GREAT!

    October 16, 2013

  • Jyl

    Really makes you think about how we stereotype other cultures and religions.

    1 · October 15, 2013

  • Mike T.

    Great discussion last night!

    1 · October 15, 2013

  • Mark

    NA

    October 15, 2013

  • Eden

    Don't forget, we are at Carlos O'Kelly's tonight. There should be a space for us, but I will get there a little early, so look for the blonde with the black service dog.

    October 14, 2013

  • David G.

    Carlos O'Kelly's YUM!!!

    October 7, 2013

  • Eden

    Please note that we are trying Carlos O'Kellys (in the HyVee/Sheridan Village parking lot. They have reeserved us a quiet space.

    October 2, 2013

  • David G.

    Great book!!

    September 22, 2013

  • David G.

    I am ahead on my reading...Can someone pick for October during the July meeting. Thanks :)

    July 8, 2013

11 went

This Meetup is community funded

$5.00/year

Member dues are used to:
  • Cover Meetup costs

60 day free trial

No credit card required

After the trial you must pay dues to continue attending Meetups.

Cancel dues at any time.

Dues are billed each year.

People in this
Meetup are also in:

Sometimes the best Meetup Group is the one you start

Get started Learn more
Katie

I'm surprised by the level of growth I've seen since becoming an organizer, it's given me more confidence in my abilities.

Katie, started NYC ICO

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy