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 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 of the 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, a perfect encapsulation of their pioneering community.
Currently, our 47 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 more than 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. This list is hardly complete. There are many more sources: Federal Census records, tax records, cemetery records, newspaper articles as well as the Town of Montville's School District #12 records, all of which are being gradually and diligently entered into one of our latest projects: The NEHFES Russian Jewish Immigrant Families of Chesterfield, CT database, or NEHFES/RJIFCC.
We are supremely fortunate that Marlene Katz Bishow, a new NEHFES member and the president of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Washington, is a NEHEFS descendant !
She and Board member Rishona ("Rishy") R. Savin of Miami, FL. recently began this huge undertaking. Once completed, the entire database will be uploaded to this and to the JewishGen.com websites!
So many descendants have discovered that their great-grandparents were part of the NEHFES community! Perhaps you will too - for the sake of your own personal history and for your progeny !
Please join us in our efforts to preserve our precious historic site and legacy, a special chapter in Connecticut and in the American Jewish Experience.
Nancy R. Savin, President
August 22, 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.