Category Archives: News

Rabbi Aaron D. Panken, 1964-2018

The NY Times has reported the death of Dr. Aaron D. Panken, president of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute, in a private plane crash 70 miles northwest of NYC. “A distinguished rabbi and scholar, dedicated teacher and exemplary leader of the Reform Movement in American for nearly three decades,” Rabbi Panken was also a direct descendant of Chayyim Panken, the first Russian Jewish immigrant (from the Ukraine ) to buy over 1000 acres of land in Chesterfield in November and December of 1890.

Chayyim Panken then persuaded my great-great-grandfather, Hirsch Kaplan, to move his little Society Agudas Achim of fellow Russian Jewish immigrants to Chesterfield, Connecticut in 1891. Chayyim Panken’s name is on several early establishing documents, including the quitclaim deed of March 18, 1892, which renamed the fledgling congregation as The New England Hebrew Farmers of the Emanuel Society.

In the midst of an amazingly busy life and many obligations (Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion has four campus worldwide), Rabbi Panken agreed to serve on the NEHFES Honorary Board of Directors and wrote a wonderful foreword to the English translation of our hand written in Yiddish Minutes and Ledger Book, currently online in the Spielberg Digital Yiddish Library on the Yiddish Book Center’s web site.

The Board of Directors and I are deeply shocked and truly saddened. We join the rest of the world of modern Jewry in mourning his tragic death.

Nancy R. Savin
President, NEHFES

Welcome Letter from Our President, Nancy R. Savin

Hello and welcome to our NEHFES website! We are delighted that you found us and invite to you to stay a while! NEHFES had a great 125th Anniversary last June 11, 2017 roughly 125 years from May 6, 1892, the day the New England Hebrew Farmers dedicated Connecticut’s first rural synagogue. On May 8, 2017,… Continue Reading

Annual NEHFES Membership Meeting – June 10, 2018

Please join us for the Annual NEHFES Membership Meeting on Sunday, June 10, 2018, at the Chesterfield Firehouse.  The membership meeting will begin at 1:00, followed by a public presentation beginning at 3:00. The featured speaker at the 3:00 public presentation will be Miriam Leberstein, the Yiddishist who translated our NEHFES Minutes and Ledger Book. Her… Continue Reading

NEHFES 125th Anniversary Celebration

The New England Hebrew Farmers of the Emanuel Society celebrated its 125th Anniversary on Sunday, June 11, 2017.  The event program is available for download.  In addition, NEHFES members can download materials from the event on the Document Archives page (you should have received an email with the required password). Continue Reading

NEHFES Minutes and Ledger Book Available Online

NEHFES Minutes and Ledger Book Available Online

NEHFES President Nancy Savin is thrilled to announce that the NEHFES Minutes and Ledger Book (1892 – 1933) has been added to the Yiddish Book Center’s Steven Spielberg Digital Yiddish Library. This document comprises the (scanned) facsimile of the MLB together with explanatory information, translator Miriam Leberstein’s intro and her superb English translation and an… Continue Reading

NEHFES Featured in Public Television Documentary, “Harvesting Stones”

NEHFES Featured in Public Television Documentary, “Harvesting Stones”

Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network recently aired “Harvesting Stones,” a documentary about the early Jewish farmers of Eastern Connecticut. The documentary, originally shown on May 25 and rebroadcast on May 29, includes footage of the NEHFES site taken during the excavation in 2012, photos about NEHFES, and an interview with NEHFES president Nancy Savin. Additional information about the… Continue Reading

10th Annual NEHFES Membership Meeting – May 1, 2016

Please join us for the 11th Annual NEHFES Membership Meeting on Sunday, May 1, 2016, at the Chesterfield Firehouse.  The membership meeting will begin at 1:00, followed by refreshments at 2:30, and a public presentation beginning at 3:00. The featured speakers at the public presentation will be David Wordell, the founder/owner of Olde Ransom Farm Carriage… Continue Reading

Appreciation Award Presented to Dr. Nicholas F. Bellantoni

NEHFES presented its “First Annual Appreciation Award” to Dr. Nicholas F. Bellantoni, Ph. D., a great friend, for his dedicated interest, concern and continuing efforts to preserve and protect its historic site in Chesterfield, CT. Dr. Bellantoni and Dr. Stuart S. Miller have just announced plans to return to the NEHEFS site in Summer 2016… Continue Reading