Flushed with celebration, his lenses steamed, Liza’s new husband cried out that he’d toiled long enough among books—today he was trading his pen for the handles of a plow. He wanted to farm, he wanted to raise wheat and grapes and pumpkins big as planets for the glory of the Soviet Zion.
A great deal of Birobidzhan’s appeal for Jews the world over was the opportunity to live collectively and farm on a large scale. This reference article from YIVO gives an excellent account of agriculture’s place in Jewish life leading up to the years that bring LAMENT’s heroine and her sister there.
These photos come from Ribir.Ru (a Russian site):