Jewish Colonisation Association

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jewish Colonization Association
FounderBaron Maurice de Hirsch
TypeJewish charitable foundation
Purposeadvocate and public voice, educator and network
HeadquartersLondon, England
Region served
North America (especially Canada, United States), South America (especially Argentina)
Official language
English, French

The Jewish Colonisation Association[1][2][3] (JCA or ICA; Yiddish: ייִק"אַ), is an organisation created on September 11, 1891, by Baron Maurice de Hirsch. Its aim was to facilitate the mass emigration of Jews from Russia and other Eastern European countries, by settling them in agricultural settlements on lands purchased by the committee in North America (Canada and the United States), South America (Argentina and Brazil) and Ottoman Palestine. Today ICA is still active in Israel in supporting specific development projects under the name Jewish Charitable Association (ICA).[4]


Palestine and Israel[edit]

Baron Maurice Hirsch

In 1896 the JCA started offering support to Jewish farming communities newly established in Ottoman Palestine. In 1899 Baron Edmond James de Rothschild transferred title to his settlements ("moshavot") in Palestine along with fifteen million francs to the JCA. Starting on January 1, 1900, the JCA restructured the way in which the settlements received financial and managerial support, with the effect of making them more profitable and independent. Between 1900 and 1903 it created 4 new moshavot, Kfar Tavor, Yavniel, Melahamia (Menahamia), and Bait Vegan.[5] In addition, it established an agricultural training farm at Sejera.[5]

The Palestine operation was restructured by Baron de Rothschild in 1924 as the Palestine Jewish Colonization Association (PICA) and placed under the directorship of his son James Armand de Rothschild. PICA transferred most of its properties to the State of Israel in 1957 and 1958. ICA resumed activities in Palestine in 1933, at first in association with another fund and from 1955 onwards by itself as "ICA in Israel".[6]

In the 21st century, the organisation has focused its efforts on fostering the development of the peripheral regions of the Galilee (north) and the Negev (south). Operating under the name Jewish Charitable Association, it has become a catalyst for positive change by championing innovative projects in the realms of education, agriculture, economic development and cross-community opportunities (for both Arabs and Jews) within rural areas. The commitment to these areas stem from the understanding of the pivotal role these sectors play as the primary sources of employment and income (for all communities) in these regions.[7]


Zadoc Kahn presented the German Jewish philanthropist Baron Maurice de Hirsch with the project of setting up a Jewish settlement in Argentina, before JCA was created in 1891. Theodor Herzl considered it expensive and unrealistic. In 1896, when Hirsch died, the association owned a thousand square kilometers of land in the country on which lived a thousand households, the “Jewish gauchos”. It focused on agricultural settlements in Argentina until East European Jews were forbidden to emigrate there. In 1920, 150,000 Jews lived in Argentina[8] and new settlements appeared: (Lapin, Rivera), Entre Ríos (San Gregorio, Villa Domínguez, Carmel, Ingeniero Sajaroff, Villa Clara, and Villaguay),[9] and Santa Fe (Moisés Ville) (about 64% Jews lived in Entre Ríos.)[10]

United States[edit]

Settlements were founded within the United States in southern New Jersey, Ellington, Connecticut (Congregation Knesseth Israel), and elsewhere.[11] A Canadian Committee of the JCA was established in November 1906 to assist in the settlement of thousands of Jewish refugees fleeing Russia, and to oversee the development of all JCA settlements in the country.


The JCA also established two agricultural settlements in the first two decades of the 20th century in what now is Turkey. In 1891, JCA bought land near Karataş, Izmir, Turkey, and established an agricultural training centre, or Yehudah, on an area totaling 30 km² by 1902. The centre was closed in 1926 owing to numerous difficulties. A group of Romanian Jews in Anatolia were assisted by JCA in the early 20th century to establish an immigration bureau in Istanbul in 1910. The JCA also bought land in the Asian part of Istanbul and founded Mesillah Hadassah agricultural settlement for several hundred families. In 1928 the settlements were mostly liquidated, with only the immigration bureau remaining to assist migrants in their migration to Palestine.


Economic factors, notably the Great Depression, led to the dissolution of all western Canadian settlements by the end of World War II. Thereafter concentrating its work in the east, the Canadian chapter of the JCA purchased farms and made loans to farmers in Ontario and Quebec. The JCA Canadian Committee made no loans after 1970 and ceased all legal existence in 1978. The JCA deposited the majority of its papers at the National Archives of the Canadian Jewish Congress in 1978, and the remainder (the "S" collection) there in 1989.


  • Sigismond Sonnenfeld (1891–1911)[12][13]
  • Louis Oungre (1911–1949)[14]
  • Victor Girmounsky[15] and Georges Aronstein (1949–1977)[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ussishkin, Anne (1973). "The Jewish Colonisation Association and a Rothschild in Palestine". Middle Eastern Studies. 9 (3): 347–357. doi:10.1080/00263207308700254. JSTOR 4282496.
  2. ^ Kauffmann, Richard, Planning of Jewish Settlements in Palestine, reprinted from The Town Planning Review, University Press of Liverpool Ltd., Vol. XII. November 1926, No. 2. Via "Richard Kauffmann – Architect and Town Planner: A daughter's perspective on his life and work". Accessed 8 August 2020.
  3. ^ The Sixty-Third Annual Report of the Anglo-Jewish Association: in Connection with the Alliance Isralite Universelle, 1934, p. 6. Anglo-Jewish Association, London, 1935. Accessed 8 August 2020.
  4. ^ Jewish Charitable Association: about. Accessed August 2020.
  5. ^ a b Ben-Porat, Amir (1991). "Immigration, proletarianization, and deproletarianization A case study of the Jewish working class in Palestine, 1882-1914". Theory and Society (20): 244.
  6. ^ "Eretz Israel - ICA in Israel". Archived from the original on 24 January 2020. Retrieved 8 September 2018.
  7. ^ "ICA In Israel - ICA in Israel". Retrieved 27 December 2023.
  8. ^ Haim Avni (1991). Argentina and the Jews: A History of Jewish Immigration. University of Alabama Press. ISBN 0-8173-0554-8.
  9. ^ (in Spanish) Circuito Histórico de las Colonias Judías
  10. ^ "Entre Ríos". Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved 2014-01-05.
  11. ^ "JEWISH COLONIZATION ASSOCIATION -". Retrieved 8 September 2018.
  12. ^ Norman, Theodore (1983). An Outstretched Arm: A History of the Jewish Colonization Association. Routledge & Kegan Paul. ISBN 9780710202536. Retrieved 18 May 2016.
  13. ^ "Education Conference to Consider Curricula Changes". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. 14 May 1929. Retrieved 18 May 2016.
  14. ^ "Louis Oungre, Ica's Director-general, Reaches 50 Sunday". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. 18 September 1930. Retrieved 18 May 2016.
  15. ^ "Jewish Colonization Association Decides to Extend Its Work". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. 2 February 1955. Retrieved 18 May 2016.
  16. ^ "Louis Oungre Resigns Active Service with Jewish Colonization Association". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. 15 November 1949. Retrieved 18 May 2016.

External links[edit]