Until we started using the hashtag #JewishAmericanFarmgirl, our daughters had never heard the expression Jewish American Princess, which isn’t too surprising, since we live on a farm in Maine. That said, all three of our daughters have attended Levey Day School in Portland, Maine’s only Jewish Day School, so they’ve grown up with Judaism and Jewish culture being an active part of their everyday lives. We’re not in the traditional sense observant Jews, but we are committed Jews, and practice our own kind of agri-Judaism, focusing our practice and observance on ways that Judaism intersects with our rural and agricultural lifestyle. We pick our own apples for Rosh Hashana. We love Sukkot. We grow horseradish for Passover. We don’t keep kosher, but follow our own dietary laws—we schect our own chickens and turkeys—but also eat pork, so long as it comes from a local farm, raised by farmers we know.
We started using the hashtag #JewishAmericanFarmgirl to turn the negative stereotype of the Jewish American Princess on its head, and to offer a window into the lives of our Jewish American daughters and all the amazing, fun, hard-working, adventurous, unexpected and stereotypically not Jewish things that they do as part of their every day lives on our Southern Maine homestead, Ten Apple Farm. Whether it’s driving a tractor, milking goats, schlepping 4 foot landscaping timbers for a raised bed, digging post holes for a grape arbor, or feeding and caring for their sheep, goats, chickens, and pigs; all these things offer a glimpse of what’s possible for our Jewish American girls, who are strong, independent, caring and engaged in the world around them.
Our middle daughter, Beatrice, age 9, is in a 4-H Swiners Club, raising a piglet with which she’ll compete in the pig races next week at the Cumberland Fair in Cumberland, Maine. Her plan is to continue to raise her pig after the fair, keeping some of the meat for our family and selling the rest to earn money for saving, spending and tzedakah. If you’re in Maine, we invite you come out to the fair and cheer on (we’ve got to believe) the only Jewish 4-H Swiner and pig racer in the state. If you’re not in Maine, you can follow the ongoing exploits of all three of our Jewish American Farmgirls on instagram @TenAppleFarm. If you’ve got a #JewishAmericanFarmgirl of your own, use the hashtag to share her story with the rest of the Jewish American Farmgirls out there.