Our New Book – Napa Valley’s Jewish Heritage
As the world rushed in to profit from California’s gold strike of 1848, many Jews joined the throng, not necessarily to mine, but to sell merchandise to prospectors. Some settled in Napa Valley, a basin of rich agricultural land nestled between two mountain ridges. These pioneers conducted business, making significant contributions to the development of the Valley. Participating in cultural life, holding public office, and leading organizations, many also made fine wines, something perfected thousands of years ago as commanded in scripture. They continue to do so and this is their story told through photographs.
Henry Michalski was born in Kazakhstan and came to America with his Polish parents in 1949. In 1968, he began teaching history in the Napa public schools, and at Congregation Beth Sholom’s Sunday school. Now retired, he and wife Lynn have visited Israel numerous times. Raised in Illinois, Donna Dover Mendelsohn came to California in 1961, settling in Napa in 1998 with her husband, David. As cofounder of the Jewish Historical Society of Napa Valley and past president of Congregation Beth Sholom, Donna coordinated the exhibit Jews of the Valley and the book Under the Vine and Fig Tree by Lin Weber.
The Images of America series celebrates the history of neighborhoods, towns, and cities across the country. Using archival photographs, each title presents the distinctive stories from the past that shape the character of the community today. Arcadia is proud to play a part in the preservation of local heritage, making history available to all.
Our First Book – Under the Vine and the Fig Tree
We commissioned Lin Weber, a well known historian of the area, to write this book, Under the Vine and the Fig Tree: The Jews of Napa Valley, about the early Jews in Napa Valley, their life, and contributions to this beautiful area. It was unveiled in September 2003 and is now the definitive history of the contribution of the early Jews to Napa Valley. The book can be found in local wineries, book stores and at Amazon.com.