In connection with the 100th anniversary of Keene’s Congregation Ahavas Achim, the exhibit “From Peddlers to Shopkeepers to Professionals: A History of the Jewish Community in Cheshire County” will tell the story of Jewish immigrants to Keene and Cheshire County, their descendants, and the impact of the Jewish community upon the region. The exhibition will also share the story of the Jewish religion in the region, including the story of Congregation Ahavas Achim and of the Keene synagogue. On Wednesday, January 25th the Historical Society of Cheshire County will celebrate this unique exhibition with an opening reception from 4-6 pm, free and open to the public.
Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe began arriving in Keene in the 1880s. In an effort to control their own destiny, many of these early immigrants took to the roads of southern New Hampshire and Vermont to work as peddlers. These families often opened stores in Keene after they had accumulated sufficient capital. The immigrant families encouraged their children to take advantage of the educational opportunities available in the Northeast and many went on to careers as lawyers, doctors, scientists, and in various other professions. These early families remained very faithful to their religion and maintained their Jewish practices, culminating in the incorporation of the congregation in 1916. Keene’s Congregation Ahavas Achim has been the religious focal point for the region’s Jewish community for 100 years.
The Historical Society is working with former Keene mayor Aaron Lipsky and Cheshire County’s Jewish community to produce this exhibit. The exhibition will run from January 25 through April 21, 2017 and will be the focal point for several programs, field trips, lectures, and school programs.
Thank you to our exhibit sponsors Robert Aliber, C&S Wholesale Grocers, Kapiloff Insurance Agency, Aaron Aliber Lipsky, Dorothy Lipsky Saks