Sometimes one does not choose one’s life,
life chooses you…
After having completed his studies at St Edmund Hall in Oxford and obtaining his diploma in economics and political science in 1957, Jack Preger materialized his project of buying a farm in Cardin, Wales and to live a farmer’s life with his wife and son. But life was too tough and his marriage broke up. His wife left the farm with their child.
Alone, Jack started reading the New Testament although it was forbidden to Jews.
« One day as I was working on the farm, I stopped for a while and thought to myself: this is what I am doing at this time of the year and in a year’s time I will be doing exactly the same. These tasks accomplished day after day seemed less and less essential. »
At the age of 16, his beliefs suddenly change. He joined a left wing Zionist organisation, called Mapam. He hides his new convictions from his family, traumatised by the Shoah and his ideas, he continues to pretend practicing the rites with the family.
« When I was young, I was a member of a Zionist organisation. It was a rather instructive organisation, they believed in a state for Arab Palestinians and Jews, with equal rights, but they lost power in today’s Israel (…) it was during the beginning of the State of Israel, they wanted to live together as a very left-wing, communist organisation. »
« My father died as a Jewish believer, not an ultra-orthodox Jew but a Jew who did his prayers and that kind of thing. (…) I think he would have been disappointed if he had known that I had quit Judaism.»
During the war, Jack was separated from his family and evacuated , like many other children, to a family in the country. In this farm he discovered his passion for agriculture.
« I believe that a pleasant memory of my childhood was during the 2nd world war when I was at this farm as an evacuee. It was a very happy period […]»
When he returned to Manchester, his parents put him in an ultraorthodox school. He was thinking then of becoming a rabbi.
Jacob “Jack” was born on July 25th 1930 in Manchester, in a Jewish orthodox family.
«When I was little, we had an Irish nannie, Annie O’Donnell, who brought me up throughout my childhood. She drank like a fish and smoked like a chimney, dear soul, but she fed each of my first memories with her presence and her unconditional love.»