In the 1880s, a group of families from Kovno, Lithuania, escaped persecution by emigrating to the United States. They settled in Burlington, surrounded by a landscape that reminded them of home.
They were the original families of Burlington's Jewish community, and for decades they preserved the Yiddish language and orthodox religious traditions in one compact Burlington neighborhood. That history will be presented in a documentary, Little Jerusalem, on Vermont Public Television.
We speak with the producer, Dorothy Dickie, who's combed through family archives of the original settlers' descendents to reveal their stories. And we talk with Vermont historian Jeff Potash, who is also one of the archivists at Ohavi Zedek, the Burlington synagogue founded in 1885.
Also in the program, VPR's Kirk Carapezza updates us on the frustrating wait for hazard mitigation funds from FEMA. The program is meant to prevent flood-prone properties from being built on again, but individuals and towns are finding the process of receiving these funds to be slow and bureaucratic.