Category Archives: News

NEHFES Descendants from Across the U.S. and Canada Attend First-ever Virtual Annual Meeting

An amazing event occurred on June 7, 2020, when 35 descendant members and friends of The New England Hebrew Farmers of the Emanuel Society (NEHFES) of Chesterfield, Connecticut, met online for their first ever Virtual Annual Meeting. According to NEHFES President, Nancy R. Savin, “An inadvertent blessing of this tragic pandemic was that COVID-19 restrictions were a mihaiyeh for the organization. Normally, our annual meeting attracts only 10 – 15 attendees from Connecticut and New York.”

Savin, the great-great granddaughter of Hirsch Kaplan, the unordained Ukrainian rabbi who led a small chavurah of Russian Jewish immigrants from Williamsburg, New York, to Chesterfield in 1890, said it was great that current NEHFES descendants–who now live in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, New York, Toronto and Hawaii–were able to “see” each other and act to preserve and perpetuate their common family history.

Guest speaker Kelley Berliner, Northeastern Regional Director of TAC, The Archaeological Conservancy of America, discussed “TAC’s American Archaeological Holdings and the NEHFES Site in Chesterfield.” Next year, during American Jewish Heritage Month in May, NEHFES intends to gift the Chesterfield synagogue land to TAC in order to preserve and protect the site in perpetuity. It might be the first Jewish Archaeological preserve in North America.

Times were hard for the early Eastern European Jewish immigrant families, but their devotion to family, ethics and a better life certainly paved the way for the successful lives of their descendants. Today, proud to have almost 50 descendant members, many of whom excel in the fields of academia, business, education, medicine, law and more, NEHFES is always looking for more descendants to help preserve, protect and pass down its legacy–a small but precious chapter of American Jewish History.

For additional information about NEHFES and our history, please explore our website. Feel free to contact us, particularly if you have a family connection to the Chesterfield-Salem-Oakdale Jewish community and would like to join the NEHFES.

Annual NEHFES Membership Meeting – June 7, 2020 (via Zoom)

The Annual Meeting of The New England Hebrew Farmers of the Emanuel Society (NEHFES) of Chesterfield, CT will be held on Sunday, June 7, 2020 at 7pm EDT . The guest speaker will be Ms. Kelley Berliner, Northeastern Regional Director of TAC, The Archaeological Conservancy of America, who will discuss “TAC’s American Archaeological Holdings and… Continue Reading

President’s Message: New Land Record Database Now Available!

Great News! NEHFES asked title researcher Carol Spenser to create a database of all land transactions – purchases and sales – in Montville, from 1890 – 1920. The intent was to help member descendants discover exactly when their ancestors first purchased land in Chesterfield. We also hoped to estimate how many individual families lived there… Continue Reading

Annual NEHFES Membership Meeting – June 9, 2019

Annual NEHFES Membership Meeting – June 9, 2019

The Annual Meeting of The New England Hebrew Farmers of the Emanuel Society (NEHFES) of Chesterfield, CT will be held on Sunday, June 9, 2019 at the New London County Historical Society, 11 Blinman Street, New London, Connecticut 06320 . The guest speaker will be Andrew Stout, the Eastern Regional Director for TAC (The Archaeological… Continue Reading

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… Continue Reading

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 on 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