WELCOME!

Hello and welcome to the website of the New England Hebrew Farmers of the Emanuel Society!

We are exceptionally proud that our "NEHFES Synagogue and Creamery Site" was named Connecticut's 24th State Archaeological Preserve in 2007,(see photo, right) and (see update, below, right) that  the site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the CT Register of Historic Places in 2012!    

Our rather prestigious name is close to one suggested in 1891 by Arthur Reichow, an agent of the Baron de Hirsch Fund in New York City, to replace "Society Agudas Achim" (a Community of Brothers), the name for a small group of industrious Russian Jewish immigrants who left Brooklyn under the leadership of Harris Kaplan  and found their way to Chesterfield, Connecticut in 1890.  Reichow thought a more sophisticated name would better position their efforts in Connecticut and New England.  

Because the formation "of the Emanuel Society" really has no historic precedent, we have recently come to believe that these words were added in order to created the "acronym" "NEHFES." With one more "h," it spells the Hebrew word "nefesh"  - which means soul or spirit!.

Currently, our small but dedicated descendant/members reside in 14 states: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Wisconsin and Canada, and represent 17 of the perhaps 50 NEHFES families that lived in Chesterfield's Russian Jewish Immigrant community from 1890 until the late 1930's. 

Read our history and look at the NEHFES names page gleaned from the Town of Montville land records and from our precious hand-written Yiddish Ledger and Minutes Book.  Perhaps you'll discover your great-great-grandfather's name and join
 us in our efforts to preserve our precious historic site and legacy, a special chapter in Connecticut and in the American Jewish Experience for future generations!


Nancy R. Savin, President

NEHFES
April 8, 2014 


NEHFES, a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit religious organization, was incorporated in the State of Connecticut on October 19, 2006.
All contributions are fully deductible to the extent allowed by  law. 



Dedicated on September 29, 1986, our historic bronze and granite monument is located at the intersection of Routes161 and 85 in Chesterfield, Connecticut.

See the New York Times article fronm that day on the "links" page. 

Edward  D. Baker, Executive Director of the New London County Historical Society, posting the Connecticut State Archaeological Preserve sign at the NEHFES site in 2008.

 
NEHFES NEWS:

******STRATEGIC******* 
         PLANNING
          RETREAT
             at the 

    CHESTERFIELD 
      FIREHOUSE

9th Annual  NEHFES membership meeting  on
Sunday, May 4, 2014
from 1- 5 PM.

Pearl L. Kane of PLK Consulting Group, LLC,  will guide an information gathering retreat for NEHFES members in order to devise a short and long term strategic plan for NEHEFS. This  endeavor has been generously underwritten by the Carl Marks Foundation, Inc. All
members are urged to attend. (see details on our calendar page)

Also NEHFES' " First Annual Appreciation Award" will be presented to Dr. Nicholas F. Bellantoni, Ph. D.


After last summer's highly successful three-week University of Connecticut summer field school archeological excavation and Dr. Stuart S. Miller, UConn Professor of Judaic Studies, the fascinating story of the ancient stone  mikveh  (ritual bath) has begun to emerge.

We know that the congregation had a some sort of a mikveh from its inception in 1890, but the community house, probably built in 1908  added the traditional  poured concrete descending steps -  covered with wood - in its basement  between 1910 and 1914. 


The University of Connecticut's press release on June 13, 2013, by Tom Breen, reveals the outcomes of the excavation.   Professor Miller  was deeply impressed with the religiosity of this rural community, At a time when most immigrants were casting off old rites and rituals.

Both experts made a presentation of their findings at the annual NEHFES members meeting on April 21, 2013.    

Miriam Leberstein,  a renowned  New York  Yiddish translator, is busy finalizing NEHFES Ledger and Minutes Book - our most  precious historic artifact!  It is an extremely interesting record  comprising hand written Yiddish entries from the early days of NEHFES  and includes a governing constitution adopted in  January of 1894! The translation  will be uploaded to this website and other places online and may become a printed publication.     


Great date: February 28, 2012: The New England Hebrew Farmers of the Emanuel Society Synagogue and Creamery Site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places!

Thank you to Cece Saunders, Faline Schneiderman - Fox RPA and Julie Abell Horn RPA of Historical Perspectives, Inc. of Westport, CT who brilliantly researched
and prepared our nomination. Their efforts were generously underwritten by a grant from the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism.
 
NEHFES will be working with the CT Humanities Council for a planning grant for a 125th anniversary exhibition in 2017, entitled "CT's New England Hebrew Farmers: The Russian Jewish Immigrant Community of Chesterfield, 1890 - 1950." 

We have secured two venues: The Thomas  Dodd Center at UConn, Betsy Pittman, Archivist, and the Hartford History Center at the Hartford Public Library, Brenda Miller, Curator and Director of Cultural Programming. 

 JOIN NEHFES!~!!!!!!

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